What are plant breeder's rights (PBR)?

Plant breeder's rights (PBR) describes the type of intellectual property that protects new varieties of plants and trees, including:

  1. new varieties of plants and trees including flowers; vegetables; fruit trees, bushes and shrubs
  2. fruit harvested from a new variety of tree
  3. essentially derived varieties, which are varieties derived from a registered variety, which retain the same essential features, and do not show any important feature that make them different to the registered variety
  4. dependent varieties, which are varieties reproduced by the use of the registered variety
  5. in some circumstances, propagating material of the new variety (e.g. seed).

How can PBR help my business?

The registered holder of PBR is the only person entitled to commercially benefit from the new variety that is protected by the PBR.

If you are granted PBR you can make sure that your competitors do not 'free ride' on your innovation by taking or growing propagation material and profiting from that propagation.

This means that only you can market and sell the new variety protected by the PBR, and only you are entitled to profit from the PBR.

If a competitor 'copycats', 'free rides', or produces propagating material and attempts to profit from that, there are steps you can take to ensure that you are the only person in the marketplace who receives economic benefits from your new plant variety.


In addition to being in the marketplace yourself, and making and selling the new variety protected by your PBR, another way that you can realise economic benefits from your PBR is by authorising other people to use your PBR. This is called 'licensing'.

When you license your PBR, you give another person the right to use your PBR.

You might, for example, grant a licence to another person whose business is located elsewhere (i.e. not a local competitor) in Australia or even grant a licence to a person in another country.

In that way your PBR is working even harder for you. You can receive profits from making and selling your new variety, and also receive a royalty from licensees making and selling your new variety.