The Federal Plant Variety Office represents German interests regarding variety and seed material regulations in various international committees. As a member of the Administrative Council of the CPVO it contributes to long-term and strategic decisions on Community plant breeders’ rights. It also participates in negotiations in the relevant EU management committees and thus contributes to developing and harmonising legal provisions in the field of plant varieties and seeds. In addition, the Federal Plant Variety Office is involved in various UPOV committees, which relate to further developing the existing system.
Just as important for the international seed trade are the agreed methods of seed propagation and certification on the basis of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) seed schemes. In the OECD Seed Schemes, the Federal Plant Variety Office contributes to developing existing seed certification schemes for the plant species which relate to the particular schemes.
In addition, it supports non-member countries in establishing and developing plant variety and seed schemes within the context of BMEL cooperation projects. In the past years, it has been particularly active in various African and Asian countries.
In 1972, the European Council started publishing common varieties catalogues for vegetable species and agricultural plant species from the national variety lists of the EU member states. If a seed variety is listed in a common varieties catalogue, this means that it can be traded freely within the EU. The Common Catalogue of Varieties of Vegetable Species contains over 21,000 varieties and the Common Catalogue of Varieties of Agricultural Plant Species contains over 23,000 varieties.
For a number of years, UPOV member countries have been working closely on testing new plant varieties in terms of distinctiveness, uniformity and resistance. The Federal Plant Variety Office has bilateral agreements with 21 UPOV member states for over 250 plant species. 30 additional countries accept test results from the Federal Plant Variety Office. Annually, around 1000 test reports are issued.
The pre-requisite for a country or an intergovernmental organisation to become a member of UPOV is the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. The secretary general of UPOV in Geneva works closely with the secretary of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), a subsidiary organisation of the United Nations, on organisational matters. UPOV was established in 1961 to protect plant varieties by means of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV Convention).
The Federal Plant Variety Office represents Germany at UPOV. UPOV currently has 74 members.