6 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM L et’s say you just created a wonderful new variety after 10 years of crossing and selection, and now you want to protect the variety through plant breeders’ rights in a large number of countries. Until recently you had to search for the different PBR application forms of the various countries, arrange some sort of translation of the forms, and often hire a local agent to do the filing. Much of this cumbersome process is now history with the arrival of the UPOV PRISMA tool. European Seed talked with Ben Rivoire, Technical/Regional Officer for UPOV on the benefits of the new application tool. EUROPEAN SEED (ES): CAN YOU EXPLAIN A BIT ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PLANT BREEDERS’ RIGHT APPLICATION TOOL (UPOV PRISMA) IN THE CONTEXT OF UPOV? BEN RIVOIRE (BR): The purpose of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) is to encourage the development of new varieties of plants by pro- viding an effective system of protection. New varieties of plants have always been a key means for farmers to improve their eco- nomic situation and to deliver food security to society as a whole. Today, with the challenges of climate change, urbanization and an increasing population, there is an acute need for a flow of new varieties. However, without an effective system of plant vari- ety protection, breeders have limited possibilities to achieve a return on their investment. The UPOV Report on the Impact of Plant Variety Protection (PVP) demonstrated that breeders are reluctant to release varieties where they do not have effective protection. By making it easier for breeders to make applications for plant breeders’ rights, farmers are going to have access to more varieties than in the past. Platform helps breeders make their varieties widely available UPOV PRISMA - THE NEW ONLINE PBR APPLICATION TOOL. BY: MARCEL BRUINS ES: WHY DID UPOV CONSIDER IT NECESSARY TO START THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE UPOV PRISMA? BR: For some time, it has been known that breeders have faced practical challenges to make applications for plant breeders’ rights because the process was tedious and time-consuming. This was particularly the case for small and medium sized enterprises and for breeders in countries with less widespread languages. Furthermore, the administrative effort to make an application was the same for all countries, so for countries with smaller markets, breeders might not have been able to justify the investment in resources to seek protection. In the past, the tools to address those problems would have been too expen- sive and resource heavy to provide a cost-effective solution. However, recent advances in IT have created new possibili- ties. As UPOV started to explore such an approach, there were enthusiastic responses from a significant number of breeders and PVP offices. However, it was important from the start of the development of the tool to involve key stakeholders and users of the system on both sides (breeders and PVP offices). ES: WAS THERE ANY BREEDERS’ INVOLVEMENT IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF UPOV PRISMA? IF YES, HOW? BR: Breeders have been heavily involved since the very first day. The initiative was supported by breeders from the begin- ning and we are still receiving very strong support from all breeding companies and regional and international organiza- tions representing breeders. Their feedback on the proposals and their intensive testing of the prototypes were essential and the project would not have succeeded without that vital contri- The UPOV PRISMA team: Caroline Rovere, Hend Madhour, Ben Rivoire, Ariane Besse