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According to the legislation of the Republic of Belarus a variety is a plant grouping belonging to the lowest of the known botanical taxa, which may be defined by the extent of characteristics resulting from a given genotype or combination of genotypes, distinguished from any other plant grouping by the degree of expression of at least one of the said characteristics, and may be considered as a unified whole in terms of its suitability for reproduction without alteration of whole plants of that grouping.
The right in a variety is protected by the State and is certified by a patent that is issued by the Patent Authority of the Republic of Belarus – the National Center of Intellectual Property.
The patent owner has the exclusive right to a variety. The exclusive right includes the right to use a variety at one’s discretion, allow or exclude others from using the variety.
A plant variety patent has a term of 25 years from the date of registration of a variety in the State Register of Protected Plant Varieties of the Republic of Belarus.
The application for the grant of a patent for variety is filed with the Patent Authority – the National Center of Intellectual Property – and shall refer to one plant variety.
The examination of the application consists of preliminary examination and substantive examination.
The preliminary examination serves to ensure that the required documents are all present, and determine whether the claimed variety relates to subject matter eligible for protection under the applicable law.
The substantive examination includes the ascertaining of the novelty of the claimed variety, and also the assessment of its distinctness, uniformity and stability and determination whether the variety belongs to the botanical taxon stated by the applicant in the application. The assessment is carried out by the State Testing Committee in accordance with its procedures and methods.
A variety is granted legal protection if it is new, distinct, uniform and stable.
A variety is considered to be new if, at the date of filing of the application for the grant of a patent for variety, seeds or vegetative propagating material of the variety itself was not yet sold or otherwise disposed of to others, by or with the consent of the breeder (joint breeders) or that of his successor(s) in title, for purposes of exploitation of the variety:
- in the territory of the Republic of Belarus earlier than one year before the date of filing of the application;
- in the territory of any other State earlier than four years before the date filing of the application, and in the case of trees or vines - earlier than six years before that date.
A variety is considered to be distinct if it is clearly distinguishable by at least one essential characteristic from any other variety, which existence is a matter of common knowledge at the time of filing of the application.
A variety is considered to be uniform if, having regard to the particular features of its propagation, its plants are sufficiently uniform in their essential characteristics.
A variety is considered to be stable if its essential characteristics remain unchanged after repeated propagation, or in the case of a particular cycle of propagation, at the end of each such cycle.
The scope of legal protection conferred by a patent on a plant variety shall be determined by the set of essential features of a variety, contained in the official description of the variety.