Behind The Seeds | CANTERRA SEEDS

Is it worth it to break the rules of PBR?

Posted by CANTERRA SEEDS on Apr 18, '18

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Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) have been in place in Canada for over 25 years – but ongoing education of the rules continues to be important. CANTERRA SEEDS and others in the industry, are committed to building awareness of PBR, and to enforcing the intellectual property rights of our breeding partners.

Scenario Rundown

Here is a quick rundown of a few PBR scenarios, provided by the website www.pbrfacts.ca:

  • Farmer A purchases Certified seed and saves, stores and conditions some of the harvested material to use as seed on the farm in subsequent years.

This is completely allowed.

  • Farmer A purchases Certified seed and saves and stores some of the harvested material to use as seed on the farm next year, but gives some of it to Farmer B to use as seed in exchange for other products or services.

Both Farmer A and Farmer B would be in breach of PBR.

  • Farmer A purchases Certified seed and saves and stores some of the harvested material to use as seed on the farm in subsequent years. The farmer takes the farm saved seed to a commercial cleaner, but doesn’t take it all back to use on the farm, leaving some with the cleaner in exchange for services.

Just like if the seed is traded to a neighbour, leaving farm saved seed with the cleaner in exchange for services is considered a sale and puts the farmer in breach.

In this situation, the cleaner also would be in breach.

  • Farmer B acquires farm saved seed of a PBR protected variety from Farmer A and sells the grain produced from that seed.

Farmer B and Farmer A and the grain buyer are all in breach of PBR 91, and all are liable for damages if the breeder proves the breach.

A Tougher Stance

In general, the industry is taking a tougher stance against violators these days. The following settlements have been published in the last few years:

January 2018, Secan reaches settlement with 7 PBR violators in SK and MB for an undisclosed sum

April 2017, Secan and FP Genetics jointly reach a cash settlement with Johnston’s Grain Brokerage of Welwyn, SK

February 2017, Secan and FP Genetics jointly reach a cash settlement with Dustin Hawkins of Kincaid, SK

February 2016, $150,000 settlement between Secan and Pasqua Farms

While there is no defined penalty for violations, Lorne Hadley of the Canadian Plant Technology Agency (CPTA) said in a Germination interview, “… most settlements have been in the range of three times the normal royalty rate that would be paid by a legitimate seller, plus compensation for legal fees and investigative costs – it does not take long to add up.”

In Summary

It’s important to know and understand your obligations when it comes to PBR. An easy way to make sure you aren’t breaking the law is to purchase Certified seed from a CANTERRA SEEDS seed grower. Remember, breaking the rules of PBR just doesn’t pay.

Click here for a seed grower near you.

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Tags: Regulation, Education