New Plant Varieties

Information to know about New Plant Varieties

What is a New Plant Variety?

A new plant variety refers to a previously known group of plants that can be consistently distinguished from any other similar group of plants, generation after generation. These new plants are not discovered in the wild, but are the result of human plant breeding efforts.

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How can a new variety be protected?

A new variety can be protected by giving the plant breeder the legal right to exclude anyone who does not have his permission from producing for the purpose of marketing, offering for sale or marketing his new variety. This legal right is often called a plant breeder’s right. In Trinidad and Tobago this right is given under the Protection of New Varieties of Plants Act (Act No. 10 of 1997). To qualify for protection a variety must be new, distinct, uniform, stable and have an original variety denomination.

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When is a variety considered to be new?

A variety is considered new if it has not been sold or marketed in Trinidad and Tobago for more than a year before the date of the application for protection is made or outside of Trinidad and Tobago for more than four years before this date.

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When is a variety considered to be distinct?

A variety is considered distinct from other similar varieties when a specific feature or characteristic differs sufficiently from the varieties most similar to it in that characteristic. Because this is measured statistically, different plants of the same variety should be reasonably uniform.

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When is a variety considered to be uniform?

A variety is considered uniform or homogeneous when the specific characteristic of the new variety occurs within a sufficiently consistent range so that a representative number of plants of the new variety can be distinguished by that characteristic from a similar number of plants of the closest similar varieties.

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When is a variety considered to be stable?

A new variety is considered stable if its relevant characteristics remain essentially the same after repeated propagation. It has been found that uniformity is a good indicator of stability, so if a variety is found to be fairly uniform, chances are that it will also be reasonably stable.

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How to apply for protection for a New Plant Variety?

Five things are usually needed to apply for protection of a new plant variety:

  • A completed application form;
  • A completed technical questionnaire;
  • The application fee;
  • A variety denomination; and
  • A sample of propagating material for the new variety;
The application form, the technical questionnaire and the application fee are described in the Protection of New Plant Varieties Regulations, 2000.

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All rights reserved.

Criminal penalties for Intellectual Property Rights Infringement


Maximum Penalty (TT Dollars)

Copyright and Related Rights incl. databases

$250,000.00 or ten years imprisonment (summary conviction)

Topography of Integrated Circuits

$10,000.00 or 5 years imprisonment (summary conviction)

Trade Mark (incl. company names represented in a special or particular manner)

$10,000.00 or 6 months imprisonment (summary conviction); $40,000.00 or 10 years imprisonment (indictment)

Industrial Design

$10,000.00 or ten years imprisonment (summary conviction)

Patent and Utility Model

$10,000.00 (summary conviction).

Falsification of patent register: $20,000.00 (summary conviction) or $40,000.00 or ten years imprisonment (indictment)

Geographical Indications

$8,000.00 or three years imprisonment (summary conviction)

Plant Variety

$10,000.00 (summary conviction)

Unauthorised claim of patent rights

$10,000.00 (summary conviction)

Unauthorised claim that a patent has been applied for

$10,000.00 (summary conviction)


The Copyright Infringement Ship

Piracy Ship

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Piracy occurs when any of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights are violated.

Note 14 of the TRIPS Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) provides the following interpretation:

(a) “counterfeit trademark goods” shall mean any goods, including packaging, bearing without authorization a trademark which is identical to the trademark validly registered in respect of such goods, or which cannot be distinguished in its essential aspects from such a trademark, and which thereby infringes the rights of the owner of the trademark in question under the law of the country of importation;

(b) “pirated copyright goods” shall mean any goods which are copies made without the consent of the right holder or person duly authorized by the right holder in the country of production and which are made directly or indirectly from an article where the making of that copy would have constituted an infringement of a copyright or a related right under the law of the country of importation.

The maximum penalty for copyright infringement is $250,000 or ten years imprisonment. The above pirate ship illustrates some common examples of piracy.