This is very late answering your post Lengie, but I was looking at some old copies of 'Herbs' earlier and came across a chap asking a similar question back in the Autumn/Winter issue back in 1995. Back then a P.J. Bowen from Macclesfield in Cheshire was enquiring about Plant Breeders Rights in respect of Lavendula Stoechas 'Helmsdale'.
Adrian Bloom (the chap from Blooms of Bressingham) gave a reply, please bare in mind that the information is now 12 years old so the details, laws, prices etc may have changed.
[Quoting Adrian Blooms Reply to 'Plant Breeders Rights' a letter in Herbarium Aut/Win 1995 issue of 'Herbs']
"Protection for plant breeders has been available for over 25 years, but it is only in the last 5 or 10 years that a wider range of plants has been protected under the grant which, once given to the breeder for a specific plant, means that that plant can only be propagated for sale by the growers who have a propagation licence from the breeder or his agent.
The Grant does state very clearly that plants should not be propagated for sale so that, if an amateur gardener wishes to increase the number of plants in his garden, then he would have the right to propagate to achieve that. If he were to propagate them for, say, a plant sale or a car boot sale then the breeder or his representative would have the right to prohibit the sale and if necessary take it to a legal conclusion. This, of course, to some gardeners may seem unduly restrictive but one has to consider that quite often a new plant will take many years and cost many thousands of pounds before it will reach the market and a Plant Breeders’ rights grant which actually costs about £600.00 plus renewal fees of £155.00 per annum is like an insurance to the breeder. It is now possible to get a grant of rights for the European Community and other countries too have similar schemes.”
The reply to the letter does continue with information on how an amateur grower can contact places like Blooms of Bressingham if they have a plant they think is unique and worth trialing. But I didn’t think it was relevant to Lengie’s query.
I understand the reasoning behind the PBR, but I wonder how many people are breaking the law and no actually knowing it? I confess to never reading the labels on herbs and plants that I buy fully! I know how to grow them and where to put them and how tall they grow etc, so the label is often discarded, or it blows or weathers away. So unless you keep a record of all the label information you could be propagating illegally unknowingly! Some people will even propagate from established plants that they’ve inherited or long since lost the labels to, can no longer remember the variety etc. These people may grow them for selling at a Scout’s fund raiser etc, they wouldn’t know any different. I also wonder how it’s policed, do representatives go round all car boots, fund raising sales etc ‘just in case’?
For anyone that wants to know more about PBR there is a government information page at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2002/20020247.htm how much the licence costs these days or if the rules have changed since 1995 people would have to read the information on the above link. I’ll certainly try to pay closer attention to my labels in future, I have to say I’ve never seen a PBR on a label yet though. What happens if you buy a plant from a source that doesn’t come with a label I wonder? I hope the above information will prove useful to someone
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