‘Britain’s possible exit from European Union hits breeders’

“UK Horticulture is ‘Stronger in Europe’. I have been very privileged to have worked in horticulture across Europe over the past 26 years. Horticulture is very much a European wide industry. I believe UK horticulture could potentially be very badly hit if the UK leaves the EU.” With these words started Patrick Bastow on the Plant Breeders & Agents Group at LinkedIn a discussion about Britain’s possible exit from the European Union – the so-called Brexit – after a referendum to be held in June, 2016.
Bastow is Director General at DJT Plants Spain, a start up business supplying plants materials to the UK. He is clearly worried about the ramifications to horticultural industry if the UK leaves the European Union.
‘Doubling of intellectual property costs’
Graham Spencer, the owner of Plants for Europe and the LinkedIn member who started this Group answers to Bastows plea: “In the context of this group, if the UK leaves the EU, intellectual property rights costs for plant breeders will increase dramatically. At the moment, we can use European Community Plant Variety Rights to protect our new varieties uniformly across the 28 member states using a single application process and paying only one set of fees. CPVRs do not apply outside the EU. If the UK leaves, breeders will need both EU and UK rights to achieve the same level of protection. UK rights would require a separate application process and separate fees – at the moment, UK fees are roughly the same as EU fees, so breeders would see an effective doubling of intellectual property costs. This would be a major blow to breeders and would have a knock on effect on plant prices and potentially on varietal diversity if breeders withdraw from the market.”