IgorDutina /
10 October 2018AmericasLuz Flores

Plant variety rights in Mexico: sowing the seeds for better protection

According to Mexico’s law, a plant variety is a subdivision of species that includes a group of individuals with similar characteristics that is considered stable and uniform.

In order to obtain a plant breeder’s certificate, the plant variety must be new, distinct, stable and uniform.

In Mexico, protecting a plant variety and its propagation material comprises granting a certificate for the use, production, reproduction and trade activities for a limited period of time.

Breeders may obtain a plant certificate by filing an application along with a technical report and a power of attorney.

The period of protection expires after 18 years for perennial species and their rootstocks, and 15 years for non-perennial species.

Breeders may also enforce their rights through infringement actions.

Current applicable law

IP law previously determined that plant varieties were not patentable, and it was not until 1996 that the federal plant variety law was published as a specialised law.

It was evident that breeders needed protection for their innovations, so Mexico’s authorities sought a system in accordance with that governed by the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). Hence, in 1997, Mexico became a member of UPOV in accordance with the organisation’s 1978 Convention.

As an active member of UPOV, Mexico has participated in high quality regional training. In fact, our country has cooperated in the drafting of 16 test guidelines for the examination of distinctness, uniformity and stability of local varieties.

However, surprisingly, national legislation has not been harmonised to subsequent UPOV Conventions.

Mexico’s National Seed Inspection and Certification Service (SNICS) has made available the use of UPOV’s PRISMA application tool to expedite applications for plant variety rights in Mexico. Essentially, SNICS has announced that the use of PRISMA will be free until December 2018.

Significantly, the services offered by SNICS allow a plant breeder to obtain the grant of a certificate in less than a year.

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