Gewijzigde Japanse wet zaden en kwekersrecht per april a.s.
Het Japanse parlement heeft op 2 december 2020 een gewijzigde wet aangenomen om zaaigoed en kwekersrecht nog beter te beschermen. De wijziging omvat bepalingen die de export van geregistreerde rassen beperken en een verplichte etikettering voorschrijven.
De nieuwe wet gaat treedt op 1 april 2021 in werking. De wetswijziging is bedoeld om de intellectuele eigendomscontrole over landbouwproducten die in Japan zijn ontwikkeld en geregistreerd, te versterken. Japanse plantenveredelaars zullen in de toekomst de productie en export kunnen beperken bij de registratie van hun nieuwe rassen, zelfs als hun teeltmateriaal wordt overgedragen. De wet is een reactie op enkele incidenten uit het verleden waar onder meer ongeregistreerde Japanse druifsoorten zonder toestemming naar Zuid-Korea en China waren meegenomen en daar nu grootschalig worden verbouwd. Een verplicht label voor plantaardig uitgangsmateriaal zal worden ingevoerd, wat uiteindelijk ook gevolgen zal hebben voor Nederlandse exporteurs van zaden, planten en bollen. Consumentenproducten voor eindgebruik, zoals groente, fruit en bloemen, zijn gevrijwaard van de labelverplichting. In dit nieuwsbericht de belangrijkste Q&A’s voor Nederlandse exporteurs.
What is the Plant Variety Protection and Seed Act?
The Plant Variety Protection and Seed Act protects the rights of developers of new plant varieties. Developers can register new varieties under the act, and the Plant Breeder’s Rights of registered varieties are protected as intellectual property for up to 25 years (up to 30 years for fruit trees).
What are the most important changes?
The amendment will allow plant breeders of newly developed varieties to restrict production areas of their harvest in Japan and countries of export destination of their propagating material. The plant breeders of such registered varieties can seek an order to stop the production of their harvest outside the designated areas or exports to non-designated countries without permission. Individuals who violate these restrictions and illegally take seeds and seedlings abroad will get prison sentences of up to 10 years or a fine of up to JPY10 million. For registered varieties, the breeder’s permission is required for the farmer's act of planting a part of the harvest from his own field for the next cropping in his own field. Those who transfer (sell) registered varieties will be obliged to affix a label to each propagating material, or the package thereof, when they are transferred (sold).
The varieties protected by the Plant Variety Protection and Seed Act are limited to newly developed varieties registered under the act, and the use of other general varieties is not restricted. Most of the varieties currently in use are general varieties, and farmers will continue to be allowed to propagate these general varieties freely.
What information must be included on the label?
One of the following items must be labelled on the propagating material of a registered variety, or the package thereof, when it is transferred (sold).
- Characters of 登録品種 (which means “registered variety” in Japanese)
- Characters of 登録品種 (which means “registered variety” in Japanese) and the variety registration number
- PVP mark (one of the following design samples)
Is the labelling required for crops/flowers?
Labelling is not required when transferring registered varieties as crops/flowers for final consumption rather than as propagating material.
Is the labelling required for propagating material exported from the Netherlands to Japan?
Regardless of the type of plant species, all varieties registered in Japan are subject to the labelling obligation. If a company in the Netherlands receives an order from a customer in Japan and ship their propagating material to Japan, the labelling obligation is not imposed on the company in the Netherlands. But on the Japanese importer/distributor who received the propagating material from the Netherlands and further transfer them in Japan. The labelling obligation is imposed on all further transfers of the propagating material that take place in Japan.
When propagating material are directly shipped from the Netherlands to stores in Japan, such as farmer’s markets etc. where affixing the required labels cannot be expected, it is necessary to affix the labels in advance in the Netherlands. If catalogues and Internet sites are created for the purpose of sales in Japan (e.g., catalogues and Internet sites in Japanese), the labelling obligation is imposed. Catalogues and Internet sites created for the purpose of selling widely overseas are exempted from this obligation. If propagating material are sold directly to Japanese farmers and growers for their own use, Dutch exporters are exempted from the obligatory labelling requirement, although it is still recommended.
To prevent infringement of the Plant Breeder’s Rights, Dutch exporters are advised to affix the labels to propagating material of Dutch varieties registered in Japan when they are shipped from the Netherlands to Japan although this is not a legal obligation. The PVP mark and the Japanese characters of "登録品種 (registered variety)" should be used only for varieties registered in Japan. Using them on varieties not registered in Japan or old varieties whose registration has expired should be avoided as it is considered as false labelling. To prevent infringement of PBR in Japan, it is necessary to register Dutch varieties in Japan.
What is the fine, if the required label is not provided?
Violations of the labelling obligation are subject to a fine of up to JPY 100.000.
Source: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries