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6 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM lant Breeders Rights PBR are rights granted to the breeder of a new variety of plant that give that breeder exclusive control over the resulting plant material including seed cuttings divisions tissue culture and harvested material cut flowers fruit foliage of that variety for a number of years. Unfortunately these rights are infringed upon on almost a daily basis. Breeders can sue to enforce their rights and can recover dam- ages for infringement but this is a compli- cated task and is hugely expensive. Breeders Trust was founded in 2008 out of a desire to change the fact that around the world seed is reproduced and marketed illegally and breeders rights are violated. It fights intellectual property infringement in the potato and grass seed sector. Its formation was initiated by nine lead- ing seed potato breeding companies Agrico C. Meijer Danespo Europlant Germicopa HZPC KWS Potato Norika and Solana. Together these companies account for over 80 per cent of the newly developed potato vari- eties within the EU. In 2012 seven prominent international grass seed breeding companies decided to join Breeders Trust as well Barenbrug DLF- Trifolium Euro Grass Germinal Holdings NPZ Lembke RAGT Semences and Saatzucht Steinach GmbH Co. Illegality breach of contract and infringement on breeders rights can occur throughout the whole chain not just with farmers but also with traders or processors says Geert Staring general manager for Breeders Trust. Therefore Breeders Trust works throughout the whole value chain. We noticed there is a lack of awareness of these intellec- tual property laws and regulations. By com- municating with stakeholders throughout the industry we try to educate and convince them that payment of licences is required and important. If needed Breeders Trust is not reluc- tant to bring extreme infringers to court. Internationally it builds on a network that benefits from relationships with inspection services farm-saved seed collecting agencies fraud authorities and food safety authorities. By bringing concrete cases to their attention it helps law enforcement and ensures PBR remains on their agenda. STRUCTURE Breeders Trust is a small organisation based in Brussels. With a general director at the top a project manager is appointed and lawyers all over Europe are brought into the fold to help it in its work. The purpose of Breeders Trust is to contribute to an undisturbed development for newly bred varieties and in this context it ensures a level playing field for all players in the whole chain be it seed potato or grass seed. In view of enforcement of rules and leg- islation the seed potato and grass seed indus- tries are different. In the seed potato sector we primarily focus on infringements of PBR. We take strong action against illegalities and violation of PBR laws. It not only creates an unfair playing field but it can even be a threat to the entire potato production chain because of the risk of contamination from phytosani- tary diseases says Staring. In the grass seed sector the focus tends to be more on preventing illegal activities such as sales of seed of unregistered varieties mixing cheap uncertified seed into certified seed lots and mixtures misuse of trade names or use of forged certificates. Furthermore the challenge here is to put a hold on illegal impor- tation of lots of grass seed and grass seed mixtures in the EU. In this respect there are major infringements in particular in south- ern European countries which strongly dis- rupt the market and which need to be stopped. There are several other national organ- isations active in the field of IP enforcement in the EU but Staring says Breeders Trust is a unique one that sets itself apart from the others. National organisations do have more expertise in the local market but usually have many different crops in their portfolio. Breeders Trust only focuses on seed potatoes and grass seed and specialises in those prod- ucts and enforcement activities. Infringements and illegal trade doesnt stop at the border. In the global seed industry you have to act glob- ally and work together with many authorities in order to stop illegal cross-border activities. BREEDERS TRUST FIGHTING TO PROTECT EUS POTATO AND GRASS SEED SECTOR Ensuring breeders rights are defended is key for a whealthy European seed industry. By Marcel Bruins and Marc Zienkiewicz 6 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM