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14 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM CONNECTED TO CUSTOMERS ENSURING THAT PLANT BREEDERS CAN DO THEIR JOBS THE COMMUNITY PLANT VARIETY OFFICE SHARES ITS REASONS FOR 20 YEARS OF SUCCESS. European Seed Could you please provide an overview of the Community Plant Variety Office CPVO when was it started what was the reason why it was set up Martin Ekvad The CPVO was established in 1995 to promote and facilitate the single market and plant breeding. The system was welcomed by the industry amongst other reasons because it reduces the administrative burden on breeders and streamlines market access for new varieties. With just one application to the CPVO in any of the official EU languages breeders can obtain an EU-wide enforceable right which protects their creation. This also eliminates the requirement to lodge sep- arate applications in each Member State a procedure that was both expensive and time consuming. One of the primary reasons for the creation of the CPVO was to encourage plant diversification and innovation. This was to be done by granting breeders the possibility to make a return on their investment through the single market. In its headquarters in Angers the CPVO manages the EU system of PVR applications. We do so by ensuring that applications are dealt with efficiently and that decisions delivered are well founded. When the CPVO was established it was decided to utilise the existing national infrastructure of vari- ety testing. Using national examination offices to execute the distinctness uniformity and stability DUS testing required for the integrity of the PVR system allowed the CPVO to benefit from and build upon the expertise already accrued at the national level while revising EU standards. Today the CPVO is working with an effective and efficient network of Examination Offices EO spread across the Member States. The enhanced cooperation between EO initiated after the creation of the EU Plant Variety Protection PVP system has led to an increased harmonisation of technical and practical methods of DUS testing in the EU. Based in Angers France the Community Plant Variety Office CPVO manages the EU system of plant variety rights PVR the largest such system in the world. The CPVO is entirely self- financed something that drives both their client focused mentality and ensures a high level of connectivity with the plant industry. This year marks the 20th anniversary of this highly successful organisation. European Seed sat down with Martin Ekvad president of the CPVO to find out more about the secrets behind the success of the CPVO.