Patenting of Jatropha seeds
Patenting of Jatropha seeds Intellectual Property Rights protection of Jatropha seeds or plants is possible. The most logical step to do this is by Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR). Therefore one must comply with DUS (Distinct, Uniform and Stable) rights in the PBR. For Jatropha this is not as easy as it seems since there is a large genetic diversity in part of the germplasm of Jatropha.
What could be done about this is:
- vegetative propagation, it is possible to create genetically identical plants from one branch
- inbreeding and creating lines that are genetically uniform
- creating hybrids by crossing two uniform lines that are distinct from each other.
The party that holds the PBR for a Jatropha variety gets the rights to its exploitation (multiplication and the sales of seeds and clones) and it can give out licenses to others. Non-profit organizations or charities can also obtain PBR. They can then decide what others have to pay or give out licenses for free e.g. to small farmers in developing countries. However, obtaining PBR costs several thousands (in the EU) up to tens of thousands (global) of euros on top of which of course the high costs of a breeding program need to be added. PBR not only protect seeds or plants of a variety but also its derived products. When you hold the European PBR for a Jatropha variety, imports of Jatropha oil produced from this variety in Asia by a party without a license can be stopped.
N.B.Above information is a summary of a more extensive document in Dutch (download here) on the subject that was written by Dr. Robert van Loo, specialist in Plant Breeding from the Wageningen UR. It has been summarized and translated by FACT Foundation.