You may have noticed news stories (like this one on BBC News) about the weak US Dollar which has now reached its lowest level against Sterling since 1992 and is similarly weak against the euro. This provides both advantages and disadvantages to breeders of plant varieties, depending on where you are resident.

For European breeders, applications for US Plant Patent are now as cheap as they have been for more than a decade. If you have a plant that you are considering for protection in the US, now is a good time to apply. On the other hand, royalties earned in US Dollars convert poorly to Sterling or euro. It may be prudent to open a US Dollar account with your bank and hold revenues in Dollars until the exchange rate improves.

For American breeders, the reverse is true – royalties earned in the UK and the rest of Europe now seem to be very high. However, the Dollar has also fallen against the euro in the last year, so the cost of EU PVR applications appears to have risen from an American perspective (EU PVR fees with the CPVO must be paid in euro). Of course, one can not benefit from high EU royalties unless protection is in place, so American breeders must bite the bullet and pay for protection. However, canny timing of application dates can help to extend the time over which the fees must be paid in the hope that the Dollar will strengthen (particularly, it may be possible to delay paying DUS testing fees by up to twelve months by careful timing of the initial application) – PFE can advise on this on request.