Plant Variety Protection

This relates to plant varieties.


The (Austrian) Plant Variety Protection Law is a property right granted by the government for plant varieties, i.e. a plant grouping, within a single botanical taxon of the lowest known rank, which has been granted after official examination by the Office for Food Safety, registered in the Plant Variety Protection Register and published in the Plant Variety and Seed Gazette. Plant variety protection is granted for varieties which are distinct, uniform, stable and new (under certain circumstances granted with a grace period).

The term of protection is 30 years for trees and vines as well as hops and potatoes; for all other varieties it is 25 years from issuance of the variety protection.

The following actions require the consent of the variety protection holder with regard to the reproductive material of the protected variety: the production or propagation, the processing for the purpose of reproduction; offering for sale; the sale or other distribution on the market; the export; the import; storage for the aforementioned purposes.

Plant protection is, for the most part, regulated in Austria in the Austrian Plant Variety Protection Law.

The Plant Variety Protection Law grants its holder an exclusion right, i.e. he may prohibit others from use as described above. In case of breach, the holder of rights may demand, in particular, the cessation of the infringing use, the removal thereof, reasonable compensation or in the case of negligence, damages, each including financial statements, publication of the judgement and information about the origin and distribution channel. The cessation, but also the preserving of evidence (“house search under civil law”) or the ability to pay (“freezing of assets”) can be enforced through a preliminary injunction. An intentional plant variety infringement is also a criminal offence.