Egypt joining the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV)

Egypt has joined the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) on December 1, 2019 after UPOV has approved joining Egypt to the union, and issuance of the Egyptian law no. 144 of 2019, which included amendments to the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Law No. 82 of 2002 in accordance with the provisions of the agreement.

It is known that there is no worldwide standard legal system for the protection of new varieties of plants, since countries legislations take a varying stand regarding the protection of new varieties of plants, wherein the United States of America applies two types of protection to the varieties of plants according to specific law system for protecting the varieties of plants, while most of European countries prohibit patenting of animals and plants varieties, including Egypt.

It worth mentioning that article 1(2) of UPOV convention of 1978 does not allow the breeder to combine the two types of protection at the same time, nevertheless UPOV convention of 1991 is silent about similar wording, afterwards allowed the members of UPOV to have two types of protection for the plant variety by a patent and the system of protection set forth in the convention at the same time, which is applied by some countries, such as the United States of America.

The new varieties of plants are protected if the requirements of protection are met, whether obtained by sexual reproduction or asexual reproduction, as it protects the new varieties of plants obtained by genetic engineering.

Although the developing countries are rich with most of genera, varieties and strains of plants and animals, however, they do not either realize the value of this genetic wealth or how to utilize the same. The biological wealth in the developing countries has been seized and utilized to obtain patents in the developed countries without any consideration for developing countries. One of the top examples clarifying the patent infringement for the patents registered in some countries which relate to plants cultivated in India since a long time and the most important of them are turmeric plants, neem, and a variety of rice. Further, in Egypt, Egyptian seeds of medicinal and aromatic plants were discovered stolen, and genetic engineering was inserted into its seeds and registered in the name of other countries and produced as a national yield having an economic return, one of which was Jew’s mallow “Molokhaih”, wherein Japan has taken all Jew’s mallow seeds types, which are registered in the patents department in the agricultural research center, and genetic engineering was inserted into them and then they have been utilized in the medicaments of cholesterol, stomach ulcer, diabetes and blood diseases.

Egypt’s accession to the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants is an achievement for the Egyptian agricultural sector seeking for providing the protection of the varieties of plants in order to promote and develop the production of new and distinguished varieties of plants which gives the right to plant breeders if the variety was new and distinguished. Moreover, the benefit will be significant for Egypt after becoming an active member instead of being an observer member of the organization; hereby Egypt will have the right to import all kinds of seeds from the member countries and will be able to export the new varieties to abroad, which renders Egypt a market for producing and exporting seeds and gives it a great opportunity for agricultural investment. It also protects the registered Egyptian varieties from exploitation and theft.

For more information please contact our Patents Department
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