Yellow tulips

National plant breeders' rights

Plant breeders' rights protect new plant varieties. Plant breeders' rights are granted to a variety and not a species. So for example: apples are a species and Jonagold is a variety. Plant breeders’ rights can be granted if a variety is distinct, uniform, stable and new. The variety must also have an accepted denomination.

What may the owner of a plant breeders’ right do

The holder of plant breeders’ rights determines who may trade or grow material of the variety. National plant breeders' rights are granted for 25 years on nearly all crops. For flower bulbs, potatoes, asparagus and many woody crops, for example, the term is 30 years. At the end of this period, the right expires; it cannot be extended.

If vegetable and agricultural crops have plant breeders' rights, they cannot yet be traded within the EU. To do so, they need admission (registration) in the national catalogue of varieties. This obligation does not apply to varieties of ornamental plants.

Who is entitled to apply for plant breeders' rights

A breeder (usually someone who developed the variety) can apply for plant breeders' rights for a variety he has bred (improved). Plant breeders’ rights is a right of intellectual property and, as such, can also be transferred or acquired by inheritance.

The Board for plant varieties ensures registration of the breeders' right in the national variety register if it is granted.


The Netherlands is a UPOV-member state. The plant breeders’ rights system in the Netherlands is based on the UPOV '91 convention.