In order to protect its researchers and research organizations, Brazil and the others members of the WTO (World Trade Organization) pledged to create rules on intellectual property in several areas of human creation. It was possible thanks to the ratification of the TRIPS Agreement (“Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights”), signed in 1994 and in force from January 1st, 1995.
The deadline for implementing the provisions disclosed on TRIPS Agreement varied according to the degree of economic development of the member. In Brazil, the new protection rules should be established within a period of up to 5 years.
Regarding the intellectual protection of plant varieties, the TRIPs Agreement sought to contemplate the types of protection which already existed in some national laws. Thus, members could opt for a patent system, a sui generis model or a combination of both.
In this context, Brazil decided to establish a sui generis model and the cultivar protection was put in place in April 1997 with Law No. 9,456 – Plant Varieties Protection Law (Brazilian acronym LPC), which ensures the breeder of the new plant variety its exclusive intellectual property rights, which should present distinct, uniform and stable technical identification.
The development of a new plant variety is a long process, which involves specific technical and scientific knowledge of the reproductive biology and genetics of the species of interest, as well as field trials and laboratory tests. The time is variable depending on the biological and morphological features of the species of interest: for annual crops, the development time is not inferior to 7 or 8 years and, for perennial species, it is even greater.
With their right secured after the introduction of LPC, companies that act in the improvement of plant species may obtain an economic return on the investments regarding the development of a new cultivar, through its commercial exploitation.
A new cultivar provides diversification, innovation and business competitiveness in the agricultural sector, which, on the national scene, has been a major contributor to the economy growth.
Thus, a new cultivar is not only a driver instrument of the development, as well as a strategic mechanism facing the agricultural sector, which is able to provide direct and indirect benefits for the whole society.