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CSIR Articles : Application of Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) for CSIR GxN2107

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24 July, 2012

Application of Plant Breeders' Rights (PBR) for CSIR GxN2107

The submission of the application for Plant Breeders' Rights for the CSIR eucalypt clone GxN2107 is the first of its kind in South Africa as no applications for forest tree species have been submitted and no guidelines have been drafted before.  The advantage of intellectual property rights is that breeders obtain legal ownership which then entitles them to commercially exploit the protected plant variety.

The cold-tolerant clone CSIR GxN2107 (hybrid first called PP2107 before application) showed good performance in six trials at different localities (Enon, Ingwe, Paulpietersburg, Greytown, Spitzkop and Etterby) and good rooting ability. It was therefore decided to apply for Plant Breeders' Rights. In order to obtain Plant Breeders' Rights, the propagating material must comply with the DUS (distinctness, uniformity and stability) requirements (DOA, 1997- Plant Breeders' Rights, what are plant breeders' rights? Available at: [accessed 24 April 2008]). The primary characteristics assessed were bark type, branching and leaf characteristics. Future studies on the reproductive and floral characteristics when the trees are more mature will provide more traits to characterise the clones and reinforce the uniformity, distinctness and stability principles. A report on the study was compiled ((Report: CSIR/NRE/FOR/ER/2009/0015/B) and  serves as a reference guide to use when characterising Eucalyptus germplasm for the application of Plant Breeders' Rights. The genetic identity of the clones was further resolved by developing a public domain molecular marker panel (done by the Forestry and Agriculture Biotechnology Institute (FABI), at the University of Pretoria) that will result in unique DNA fingerprinting profiles for Eucalyptus clonal verification. Ten microsatellite markers were included in the multilocus marker panel for cultivar-specific DNA fingerprinting of the clone.






 Figure 9: The CSIR commercial clone CSIR
GxN2107 (PP2107) in the nursery


The following were consulted during the sourcing of information and requirements for the application:

  • Dennis Rae, manager from Westfalia in February 2007.  Westfalia was approached as they are very familiar with registration of Plant Breeders' Rights for agricultural varieties (particularly avocado).
  •  Senior Plant and Quality Control Officer, Ms Elna du Bruyn, at the then Department of Agriculture (DOA) in August 2007. At the time the DOA had requested a technical questionnaire (which specifies the categories of characteristics that must uniquely identify the variety, phenotypically through visually discernable traits) from the South African representative (Ms Lynette Croukamp) of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. A specific technical questionnaire for non-ornamental tree species was obtained that had been drafted in conjunction with Brazil who had experience with this.
  • NCT personnel and Kay Nixon (a retired scientist) during the pilot study visits to trials to assess hybrid clones, and to compare with various seedling controls to identify the potential clone for application of PBRs.

The application for PBR was done in consultation with Spoor and Fisher and involved:

  • Filing and registration of the application on the 22 April 2010 with the Registrar of Plant Breeders' Rights (DAFF).
  • Obtaining protective direction (s14 PBR Act) for the clone, which is a granted provisional means of protection allowing the owner to sue for infringement regarding that variety (CSIR GxN2107 in this case).
  • Publication of the application in the South African Plant Variety Journal in June 2010, and thereby made public for opposition by interested parties.
  • The period of objection expired in November 2010 without any objections being registered.
  • The examination of the CSIR GxN2107 clone including visiting of trial sites by DAFF officials. The examination was to be undertaken by the Registrar during 2011, and CSIR advised of the outcome of the evaluation but this is yet to be received by the CSIR.
  • The protective direction (s14 PBR Act) which was obtained for the CSIR GxN2107 clone was removed to allow the nurseries to start bulking up the clone for commercial deployment.
  • In September 2010 Sunshine Seedlings nursery supplied Sutherland nursery (licensed) with CSIR GxN2107 for bulking up.

A poster entitled 'Protection of Intellectual Property through Plant Breeders' Rights for Eucalyptus species within the forestry industry: the CSIR GxN2107 case study' was presented at the 4th ICFR Forest Science Symposium held in early August 2010. The authors and co-authors included were Hobololo V., Verryn S.D., Snedden C.L., Naidoo, N. and I. Thompson. A detailed report of the investigation was compiled (Report: CSIR/NRE/FOR/ER/2009/0015/B).