The Functioning of the Community Plant Variety Office Board of Appeal1


This Paper has been published in November 2018 in the book "Intellectual Property and the Judiciary", edited by:

Christophe Geiger, Craig A. Nard and Xavier Seuba (eds.)

"Intellectual Property and the Judiciary", EIPIN series Vol. 4, Cheltenham (UK)/Northampton, MA (USA), Edward Elgar Publishing


1. Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to explain the practical functioning of the Community Plant Variety Office (hereinafter CPVO or the Office) Board of Appeal (hereinafter the Board of Appeal or the Board) and to draw some conclusions on whether it has fulfilled the objectives for which it was established. The paper will not deal with the substance of the jurisprudence of the Board. A summary and a full text of all cases of the Board of Appeal can be found on the website of the Office.

Chapter 2 offers background information on the system and the criteria for granting an EU plant variety right. The intention is to make the reading of the paper more accessible for those not acquainted with the EU plant variety right system.

2. The EU system for plant variety rights – in a nutshell

2.1. Introduction

The purpose of plant breeding is to modify plants genetically in such a manner that they adapt more appropriately to the needs of human beings. Plant breeding is as old as agriculture, and its objectives are closely related to the general objectives of agricultural plant production such as increasing plant productivity and quality by developing varieties with improved yield and better resistance to plant pests or diseases.

In this context, plant variety rights present a number of challenges that are different from those faced in other areas. Such challenges include the need to increase food production, for a growing world population with scarce resources and increasingly inconstant weather events, the constant need to adapt to climate change, and an increasingly complex regulatory set of rules. The ornamental sector provides new beautiful varieties which are appealing to consumers and contribute hugely to the economy. [...]

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1 The paper is based on a presentation I made at CEIPI on 29 January 2016, updated in February 2018.Thanks to Alejandra Aluja for helping me drafting the paper. I nevertheless take full responsibility for the content including potential mistakes.


The functioning of the Community Plant Variety Office Board of Appeal