Malaysia is blessed with agriculture produce. Research is being carried out to increase the yield of agriculture produce. It is timely that New Plant Varieties Act be introduced in Malaysia to protect new plant varieties from such research.
The New Plant Varieties Act has been gazetted on 20th October 2008. Following this, the Plant Varieties Protection office will begin accepting applications for registration as from 1st November 2008.
A plant variety shall be registered as a new plant variety and granted a breeder's right if the plant variety is new, distinct, uniform and stable. On the other hand, if the plant variety is bred, or discovered and developed by a farmer, local community or indigenous people, the plant variety may be registered as a new plant variety and granted a breeder's right if the plant variety is new, distinct and identifiable.
1) The plant variety is new if on the filing date of the application for registration and grant of a breeder's right, the propagating or harvested material of the plant variety has not been sold or otherwise disposed of on a commercial basis by or with the consent of the breeder.
2) The plant variety is distinct if it is clearly distinguishable from any other plant variety, the existence of which is a matter of common knowledge.
3) The plant variety is uniform if, subject to the variation that may be expected from the particular features of its propagation, it is sufficiently uniform in its relevant characteristics.
4) The plant variety is stable if its relevant characteristics remain unchanged after repeated propagation or, in the case of a particular cycle of propagation, at the end of each particular cycle.
5) The plant variety is identifiable if it can be distinguished from any other plant grouping by the expression of one characteristic and that characteristic is identifiable within individual plants or within and across a group of plants; and such characteristics can be identified by any person skilled in the relevant art.
The grant of breeders right shall subsist for a period of twenty years for a registered plant variety that is new, distinct, uniform and stable or fifteen years for a registered plant variety that is new, distinct and identifiable. For trees or vines, the protection period is twenty five years.
This Act is similar as Copyright Act as it prevents a breeder for producing (copying) a protected plant variety. It is adapted from the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, UPOV.