March 2010


Horticulture Week has picked up the story on the exclusion of Plant Variety Rights from the proposed “Patent Box”. See here.

LinkedIn - copyright The LinkedIn Corporation

You may have heard about social networking on the internet – you may even be a social networker yourself already. We take a dim view of jargon at PFE headquarters, but we do recognise the usefulness of a system that helps one to meet and exchange information and ideas with other like-minded people around the world. That is why we use LinkedIn which is really social networking for grown-ups, a genuine professional resource. You can see Graham’s profile here.

In particular, Graham is the owner of a “group” on LinkedIn for Plant Breeders and Agents. This group is open to any LinkedIn user who works with new plant introductions, both agricultural and horticultural. This includes plant breeders and biotechnologists, breeders’ agents (like us!), lawyers, growers of new plants, marketers and those working in support industries such as IT and specialist recruitment.

The Group now has over 300 members and has recently announced its first meeting, which will be held at IPM 2011 – thanks to generous support from the IPM organisers, Messe Essen. This will be a great opportunity for people working in our industry to meet and network, share ideas, meet old friends and make new ones.

If you are interested in joining our Group, you can find out more here.

(Note: this is the text of a press release issued by PFE today)

In the last Pre-Budget Report, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a consultation on a proposed “Patent Box” which would offer UK companies a reduced rate of Corporation Tax (10%) on all income derived from patents.

Graham Spencer, owner of Plants For Europe Limited, the Sussex-based independent plant breeders’ agent, immediately set to work to lobby the Government to include income from Plant Variety Rights in the Patent Box. Stephen Timms MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, has now written to Graham Spencer, via Charles Hendry MP, to confirm that no form of intellectual property other than patent will be included.

“This is deeply dismaying”, said Graham Spencer. “Plant varieties are excluded from the patent system in the UK and European Union by law – this is the reason why Plant Variety Rights legislation exists, in order to give plant breeders protection of their property rights. To exclude Plant Variety Rights from the Patent Box is discriminatory and is a disincentive to breeders of ornamental and food crops – an area where British breeders and growers have traditionally been amongst world leaders. Plant breeding is an expensive process and inclusion would help to encourage this innovation-based industry.”

But the fight does not end here. “I will now be asking industry bodies, both nationally and internationally, to join in lobbying both this government and the next administration to include Plant Variety Rights if and when the Patent Box becomes law”, said Graham Spencer. “I also call on my colleagues in the plant breeding and intellectual property rights business to enlist the support of their MPs to apply pressure on this subject.”