1. Already Established Varieties: No Rights to Existing Players

Vietnam's Plant Variety Rights (PVR) system operates on the principle of rewarding innovation. One way it achieves this is by excluding varieties that are already "well-known" within Vietnam or any other country at the time you file your application. In simpler terms, you cannot claim PVR protection for a variety that already exists and is circulating in the market.

Think of it this way: Imagine a scenario where someone tries to claim ownership of a widely available fruit variety like mangoes or oranges. The PVR system prevents such attempts by ensuring fairness within the agricultural sector. It grants protection only to truly novel varieties, incentivizing breeders to develop new and improved options for farmers.

Here's a breakdown of the exclusion:

  • Focus on Novelty: PVRs are designed to reward the creation of new varieties, not claiming rights to existing ones. This encourages continuous innovation in plant breeding.
  • Fairness in the Marketplace: Excluding established varieties prevents confusion for farmers and other stakeholders. They can be confident that a PVR-protected variety is truly distinct and not simply a well-known option rebranded for protection.
  • Preventing Frivolous Applications: This exclusion discourages attempts to claim rights to common varieties, streamlining the PVR application process and workload for the administrative body.

Examples of Excluded Varieties:

  • A local rice variety that has been cultivated in Vietnam for generations would not be eligible for PVR protection.
  • A popular fruit tree species readily available in Vietnamese nurseries wouldn't qualify for PVRs.

Determining "Well-Known":

Whether a variety is considered "well-known" depends on factors like:

  • Commercial Exploitation: Has the variety been widely sold or distributed in Vietnam or elsewhere?
  • Public Knowledge: Is the variety known to farmers, researchers, or the general public within Vietnam?

Consulting a Lawyer is a Key

While some aspects of "well-known" might seem clear-cut, borderline cases can exist. Consulting with a Vietnamese intellectual property (IP) lawyer specializing in PVRs can be invaluable. They can help you assess whether your variety falls under this exclusion and advise on alternative strategies if needed.

By understanding the exclusion for already established varieties, you can ensure your PVR application focuses on a truly novel creation, maximizing your chances of securing protection and contributing to advancements in Vietnamese agriculture


2. Blurred Lines: Varieties Lacking Clear Definition

Vietnam's Plant Variety Rights (PVR) system aims for clarity and precision. One way it achieves this is by excluding varieties that lack a clear and stable definition due to inconsistent characteristics or difficulty in distinguishing them from existing varieties. Imagine trying to protect a plant variety where the flower color keeps changing, or the fruit size varies significantly. Such ambiguity makes it challenging to effectively manage and enforce PVR rights.

The Importance of Clear Definition

PVR protection hinges on the concept of a distinct variety. If the defining characteristics of your variety are inconsistent or too similar to existing options, it becomes difficult to:

  • Accurately Describe the Variety: A clear and stable definition is crucial for providing an accurate description in your PVR application. This description allows examiners and others to compare your variety with existing ones and assess its distinctiveness.
  • Enforce PVR Rights: If the characteristics of your variety are ambiguous, it becomes challenging to determine if someone is infringing on your rights by propagating or selling a similar variety.
  • Maintain Order in the System: Excluding poorly defined varieties helps prevent confusion within the PVR system and ensures clarity for all stakeholders.

Examples of Excluded Varieties

  • A plant variety that exhibits significant variations in fruit size or color from generation to generation would likely be excluded due to lack of a clear definition.
  • A new ornamental plant with flower characteristics that are very similar to existing varieties might not qualify for PVR protection if it's difficult to distinguish them.

Achieving Clear Definition

To increase your chances of PVR protection for your variety, focus on:

  • Maintaining Consistent Characteristics: During development, strive to maintain consistent and stable expression of the desired traits in your variety.
  • Detailed Description: Prepare a detailed description for your application that clearly outlines the key characteristics of your variety and any specific variations that might occur.
  • Consulting with Experts: Consider consulting with a plant breeder or botanist familiar with PVR requirements. They can advise on how to effectively define and characterize your variety.

The Role of Legal Counsel

Even with careful planning, borderline cases can arise. A Vietnamese intellectual property (IP) lawyer specializing in PVRs can be a valuable asset. They can:

  • Assess the Definition of Your Variety: They can help you evaluate the clarity and stability of your variety's characteristics based on PVR guidelines.
  • Develop Strategies for Addressing Ambiguity: If there are minor inconsistencies, your lawyer can advise on strategies to strengthen the definition of your variety for the PVR application.
  • Explore Alternative IP Options: In cases where clear definition remains a challenge, your lawyer can explore alternative intellectual property protection options, such as patents for specific plant traits, if applicable.

By understanding the exclusion for varieties lacking clear definitions, you can ensure your PVR application focuses on a well-defined creation. This increases your chances of securing protection and recognition for your innovation in the Vietnamese agricultural sector


3. Unauthorized Derivatives: Respecting Breeders' Rights

Vietnam's Plant Variety Rights (PVR) system recognizes the hard work and innovation invested by breeders in developing new and distinct varieties. One way it achieves this is by excluding unauthorized derivatives – essentially, new varieties derived from existing PVR-protected varieties without the permission of the original breeder.

Imagine this scenario: Breeder A spends years developing a high-yielding rice variety protected by PVRs. Breeder B uses this protected variety to create a slightly modified version with a different grain shape. The PVR system prevents Breeder B from claiming independent PVR protection for their derivative variety without authorization from Breeder A.

The Importance of Protecting Original Breeders

The exclusion for unauthorized derivatives serves several purposes:

  • Rewards Investment and Innovation: By granting PVR protection to the original breeder, the system incentivizes them to invest time and resources in developing new varieties. They can then reap the benefits of their innovation through exclusive rights.
  • Fairness in the Market: It prevents others from simply taking advantage of someone else's hard work by creating minor variations of a protected variety and claiming them as their own.
  • Maintaining the Integrity of PVRs: Excluding unauthorized derivatives ensures the PVR system focuses on truly novel creations, not minor modifications of existing protected varieties.

What Constitutes an Unauthorized Derivative?

A derivative variety is considered unauthorized if:

  • It is derived from a PVR-protected variety: The new variety must have been developed using a variety already protected under the PVR system.
  • It retains essential characteristics of the original variety: The derived variety should share key characteristics with the protected variety, even if some minor modifications are present.
  • Authorization is not obtained: The new variety cannot be independently protected under PVRs unless the breeder has obtained explicit permission (license) from the holder of the original PVR.

Examples of Unauthorized Derivatives

  • A new mango variety with a slightly different fruit color but derived from a PVR-protected mango variety would likely be considered an unauthorized derivative.
  • A rose variety with a modified flower shape but still possessing the disease-resistance traits of a PVR-protected rose variety wouldn't qualify for independent PVR protection.

The Role of Legal Counsel

Determining the extent of derivation and the need for authorization can sometimes be complex. Consulting with a Vietnamese intellectual property (IP) lawyer specializing in PVRs is highly recommended. They can:

  • Assess the Origin of Your Variety: They can help you determine if your variety is derived from a PVR-protected source and if essential characteristics are retained.
  • Evaluate the Need for Authorization: Your lawyer can advise you on whether you need to seek permission from the original breeder to obtain PVR protection for your derived variety.
  • Negotiate Licensing Agreements: If authorization is required, they can guide you through the process of negotiating a licensing agreement with the holder of the original PVR.


By understanding the exclusion for unauthorized derivatives, you can ensure your PVR application focuses on a truly novel variety and respects the rights of the original breeder. This fosters a fair and innovative environment within Vietnam's PVR system, ultimately benefiting both breeders and the agricultural sector as a whole


4. Ornamental Exclusions: A Focus on Practical Applications

Vietnam's Plant Variety Rights (PVR) system plays a crucial role in promoting advancements in agriculture. One aspect of this focus is reflected in the current exclusion of varieties primarily used for ornamental purposes, such as flowers or decorative plants. While this might seem surprising, it highlights the system's emphasis on protecting varieties with practical applications that directly contribute to Vietnamese food security and agricultural productivity.

Prioritizing Food and Agriculture

Vietnam's PVR system prioritizes the protection of varieties that offer tangible benefits to the agricultural sector. This includes:

  • Food Security: By protecting varieties with improved yields, disease resistance, or better adaptation to local conditions, the system contributes to a more stable and secure food supply for the nation.
  • Commercial Viability: PVR protection incentivizes breeders to develop varieties with high commercial value for farmers, ultimately leading to increased agricultural income and economic growth.
  • Efficiency and Focus: Limiting PVR protection to varieties with practical applications allows the system to function more efficiently and focus its resources on areas with the most significant impact on Vietnamese agriculture.

The Future of Ornamental Varieties

The exclusion of ornamental varieties from PVR protection is not necessarily permanent. The Vietnamese legal landscape is constantly evolving, and revisions to the PVR system might occur in the future. Here's what to keep in mind:

  • Monitoring Legal Developments: Staying updated on any legal changes or proposals regarding ornamental varieties in the PVR system is crucial.
  • Alternative Protection Options: Even if not currently protected under PVRs, ornamental varieties might be eligible for other forms of intellectual property protection, such as trademarks for brand names associated with the variety. Consulting with a Vietnamese IP lawyer can help you explore these options.

Examples of Excluded Varieties

  • A new rose variety with a unique flower color and petal arrangement would likely be excluded under current regulations.
  • A novel ornamental grass with interesting foliage texture wouldn't be eligible for PVR protection at this time


5. Local Adaptation: A Balancing Act

While not an official exclusion, Vietnam's Plant Variety Rights (PVR) system places a strong emphasis on local adaptation. This presents a unique balancing act for breeders seeking PVR protection. Here's why understanding local adaptation is crucial:

Prioritizing Performance in Vietnam

Imagine a high-yielding wheat variety bred for temperate climates. While it might be novel, it wouldn't necessarily perform well in Vietnam's hot and humid conditions. The local adaptation requirement ensures that PVR-protected varieties are not only distinct but also well-suited to Vietnamese soil and climate. This benefits both breeders and farmers:

  • Breeders' Success: By focusing on varieties adapted to local conditions, breeders increase the chances of their creations being commercially successful and adopted by Vietnamese farmers.
  • Farmers' Reliability: PVR-protected varieties that thrive under Vietnamese conditions offer farmers greater predictability and confidence in their harvests.

Navigating the Local Adaptation Requirement

While not an exclusion, local adaptation can make it challenging for some varieties to obtain PVR protection. Here's how to navigate this requirement:

  • Testing and Trials: Conducting controlled trials under Vietnamese growing conditions is crucial to demonstrate your variety's suitability for local climate and soil.
  • Data and Documentation: Maintain detailed records of your trials, including yield data, disease resistance observations, and overall performance metrics.
  • Considering Alternative Varieties: If your initial variety struggles to adapt, consider breeding modifications or exploring alternative varieties better suited to Vietnamese conditions.

The Role of Legal Counsel

A Vietnamese intellectual property (IP) lawyer specializing in PVRs can be a valuable asset in navigating the local adaptation requirement. They can:

  • Advise on Testing Strategies: They can help you develop a testing plan that effectively demonstrates your variety's local adaptation.
  • Evaluate Data and Documentation: Your lawyer can assess your trial data and ensure it meets the requirements for PVR applications.
  • Explore Alternative Options: If local adaptation challenges arise, they can advise you on alternative strategies or potential modifications to your variety


6. Conclusion

In conclusion, navigating Vietnam's Plant Variety Rights (PVR) system requires an understanding of the exclusions and emphasis on local adaptation. By carefully considering these factors, breeders can focus their efforts on developing novel and distinct varieties that are well-suited to Vietnamese conditions. Consulting with a Vietnamese intellectual property lawyer specializing in PVRs can be invaluable in ensuring your application meets all the requirements and maximizes your chances of securing protection for your innovative plant creation. With a strategic approach, breeders can leverage the PVR system to contribute to the ongoing advancements in Vietnamese agriculture.

If you need further explanation on this subject, please don't hesitate to contact us through email at lienhe@luatminhkhue.vn or phone at: +84986 386 648. Lawyer To Thi Phuong Dzung.