b"ES: WITH THE UPOV 1991 CONVENTION, THE ESSENTIALLY DERIVED VARIETIES (EDV) CONCEPT WAS INTRODUCED. DO YOU THINK THIS IS A USEFUL CONCEPT, AND WHY?FM:The introduction of the EDV concept in the UPOV 1991 Act was made in order to strengthen plant variety rights and I believe it was done for good reasons. This concept was intro-duced in the EU PVP system when Council Regulation 2100/94 was adopted subsequent to the UPOV 1991 Act. Nowadays, look-ing at the evolution of the breeding sector, the EDV concept is highly topical. It should create a balance between biotechnology inventors and traditional breeders and also ensure an appropri-ate balance between the scope of the right and the exemptions, in particular the breeders exemption. The idea of just introducing a new gene in a protected vari-ety or to use freely any mutant would indeed weaken the right granted to the initial variety. This would result in discourag-ing innovation in a sector where investments to create new andBreeders may need to enter into more stringent agreements when deciding better varieties are crucial. whether to start commercializing their varieties during the provisional The attempt to define exactly or at least clarify the conceptprotection period.of EDV has however caused headaches amongst policy makers, scholars and the industry. I will not enter into that discussion here. I would instead express why I think the EDV concept isIt is very important that the nevertheless useful. Under the EU PVP legislation, it is not up to the CPVO toregulatory framework in the decide if a variety is an EDV or not. It is up to the breeders to work out any differences of opinion and if there is not an agreement, theEU is anchored to science competent court will decide. This has triggered industry to come up with protocols and arbitration tools to assist in resolving con- and that it is not fear based.flicts. Even without such tools, it is often clear to breeders when a variety is essentially derived. In contacts with the industry, I have learnt that the mere fact that the provision on EDVs exists, is to the benefit of holders of CPVRs in discussions with potentialsidered to be a GMO (old or new breeding techniques used) the infringers. Accordingly, it is a useful concept. applicant must provide the so-called Part B of their authorization Having said this, it would of course be even better if moreof release in the environment so that the CPVO may organise clarity would be offered as to what is and what is not an EDV.the DUS trial. In October 2019 it was decided to continue discussions in UPOVIn some cases, the genetic modifications borne by these on the UPOV Explanatory Note on EDVs. I hope that this workvarieties will be undistinguishable from natural mutations and will contribute to clarify the concept.thus undetectable without declaration. Therefore, the loyalty of the applicants to make the necessary declaration will be even ES: THERE'S BEEN MUCH DISCUSSION ABOUT PLANTmore critical for the CPVO to ensure compliance with European BREEDING INNOVATION. DO YOU THINK THE ARRIVALUnion law.OF THESE NEW BREEDING TECHNIQUES MIGHTIn terms of DUS procedure, new breeding techniques (NBT) HAVE AN IMPACT ON PLANT BREEDERS RIGHTS ANDshould not change the way varieties are tested. As for any vari-PERHAPS ITS ENFORCEMENT? ety, CPVO protocols will continue to apply. FM:New breeding techniques, and especially gene editing, areIf not distinct from the varieties of common knowledge very promising tools for breeders that could be used to acceler- based on characteristics derived from NBT and if the applicant ate breeding schemes and create new assortment of favourablerequests it, additional characteristics deriving from the edited alleles in elite lines. Taking this into account, it is very impor- genes could be used to establish distinctness provided that they tant that the regulatory framework in the EU is anchored tofulfil all UPOV requirements. science and that it is not fear based. The EU Commission hasRegarding enforcement, if all the conditions for the grant-been tasked by the Council to analyse the situation. Despite theing of a CPVR are fulfilled, a variety produced using NBT will political challenges involved, I hope that a workable solution isreceive a title that should not pose more difficulties to enforce found which will allow the EU to continue being in the forefrontthan one granted to a non-biotech variety or a variety produced of innovation whilst respecting health standards. by conventional transgenesis. As for the EU PVP system, there will be some challengesDo you wish to read Mattinas opinion on whether provi-taking into account that it is not fully clear which techniquessional variety protection is still strong enough, and if he thinks fall within the GM definition and bearing in mind that the usethat Europes system for Farm Saved Seed is in danger? Make sure of such techniques can be difficult to detect. If a variety is con- to check out the full story on our website: european-seed.com38IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM"