(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.”