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Breaking through Roadblocks of the International Political Situation, Taiwan is allowed to apply to European Union for protection of plant variety rights and claim a preferential right


The Council of Agriculture indicates that through nearly a year of aggressive negotiation with European Union, EU has notified the Council in formal writing in March that it consents to process variety rights protection which extends over all of its 27 member countries and which is to be applied by owners of Taiwanese plant varieties in the name of both natural persons and legal persons to the Community of Plant Variety Office (CPVO). EU has taken one step further recently to inform the Council in writing that, if ,in the future, any controversy occurs, in which more than two persons claim rights over the same variety, Taiwan’s variety growers may apply for a preferential right over the mentioned variety based on the fact that they have applied for variety rights from outside of EU. As things stand, our applicants are allowed to enjoy the same rights in their entirety as those of the people of the member countries of EU or of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). This round of negotiation breaks through limitations stemming from the fact that we are barred from UPOV due to not being a member of the United Nations and it serves to usher in a new era when our nationalities may apply for variety rights in EU.

COA notes that it recognizes the fact that nations across the world adopt localism with regard to the protection of plant variety rights, that is, one can bring a lawsuit against rights encroachers for amends or petition for trade restrictions to safeguard the rights of variety growers, only if this person has already applied for plant variety rights and is thereby protected in the country where the event of tort occurs. It can be foreseen that, after our nationalities apply for EU plant variety rights and are protected, apart from being allowed to charge royalties, they can take steps to bring a tort lawsuit or petition for trade restrictions against those rivals including PRC or other countries, which obtain our plant varieties illegally and, after growing them, export them to EU, in order to safeguard the rights of our variety growers and authorized producers.

COA also notes that, through bilateral negotiations, Taiwan has obtained indication from the United States, Australia and Japan, in addition to EU, of their approval to process the applications filed by our nationalities for plant variety rights. Besides, to help our orchid producers apply for overseas variety rights, the Agriculture and Food Agency of COA also offers counsels to the Association of the Production-Marketing Development for Taiwanese Orchids to help establish the overseas incorporation of the Foundation of Taiwanese Orchid Growers with an aim to aid orchid producers to apply for overseas variety rights. So far, it has submitted 10 applications of the variety of phalaenopsis to CPVO, which is in the course of processing them.

COA states that Taiwan’s efforts to apply for overseas variety protection of our plant varieties have incurred heightened attention from flower growers in Europe, America and Japan. In a recent special interview with the internationally renowned gardening magazine, FloraCulture International, Bart Kiewiet, President of CPVO, made a particular mention that Taiwan is expected to submit a considerable amount of applications of plant variety rights. Judging from that, Taiwan’s might to innovate new varieties is apparently recognized by the international community. Some foreign orchid producers have started to contact our exporters for the present and have proposed plans to cooperate with them, which is expected to bring about more opportunities to export our agricultural products and facilitate our producers in their efforts to gain a footing in the global agri-industry.