South Africa Seeks Comments on Draft Amendments to Plant Breeders Rights Act

On October 7, 2011, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries published for public comment a bill to amend South Africa’s Plant Breeders’ Rights Act. See Plant Breeders Rights Bill. As described in Notice 688, the amendments include provisions that will —

  • extend protection to all plant genera and species;
  • address matters of infringement of plant breeders’ rights through the appropriate fines and penalties and define the limits and the beneficiaries in the application of farmer’s privilege;
  • clarify administrative matters including documentation requirements, submission of the plant material for evaluation and making non-confidential information available to interested and affected parties;
  • empower the Minister to establish a Plant Breeders’ Rights Advisory Committee to advise the Registrar on matters related to plant variety protection;
  • provide for the hearing of an application for and issuance of a compulsory license;
  • amend the structure of the legislation by consolidating related sections into relevant chapters; and strengthen the administrative system to achieve the principles of fairness and transparency.

Comments are due within 60 days of publication of the notice and may be submitted in the manner described here.

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