Food and agriculture


Intellectual property in the field of plant breeding

Developing a new plant variety requires a lot of time and money. Depending on the variety, it can take around ten to fifteen years to bring a new plant variety to the market. The expenses incurred in the development process are financed by the sale of the seed. Given that plant seeds can be simply ‘copied’ through propagation, a suitable protection system is needed. Plant variety protection and patent law, in particular, fulfil this purpose. Plant variety protection recognises breeding efforts and protects a plant variety as a whole. Patent protection, on the other hand, protects a technical invention, for example a new or innovative characteristic of a plant or a new technical process used in plant breeding.


More transparency in the area of patents in plant breeding

In 2022, the Science, Education and Culture Committee (SECC-S) of the Council of States submitted the motion ‘More transparency in the area of patents in plant breeding’. In this motion, it instructed the Federal Council to amend the bases of patent law and – where necessary – plant variety law so as to improve the transparency of patents in the area of plant breeding.