The Delhi High Court recently ruled that the parent lines of the extant hybrid varieties cannot be considered as ‘novel’ plant varieties for the purposes of registration under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act.
The Court said that the plain language of Section 15(3)(a) of the Act indicates that a variety would be ‘novel’ if harvested material of a variety has not been sold, or otherwise disposed of prior to the specified period. “It would, obviously, follow that the plant would cease to conform to the novelty criteria as required for being registered as a new variety, if the propagating material/harvested material of the variety was sold or otherwise disposed of for the purposes of exploitation of such variety prior to the specified period.”
The Court observed that the hybrid seeds from the parent line fall within the definition of ‘propagating material’ as they are capable of or suitable for regeneration into a plant.
The hybrid seeds (as propagating material/harvested material) were, in fact, sold or otherwise disposed of prior to one year from the date of filing of the application for registration for protection.
“The sale of such seeds would amount to exploitation of the parental varieties for commercial purposes”, the Court added.