New varieties of plants

The protection of plant varieties in the Republic of Bulgaria is regulated by the Act on Protection of New Plant Varieties and Animal Breeds. This Act settles the relations with respect to the creation, protection and use of new plant varieties. The Act applies to established or discovered and developed plant varieties of any botanical genus and species, including a branch, line, hybrid or pad, regardless of the method of obtaining them (artificial or natural).

The legal protection of a variety is granted by a certificate, which is valid for thirty years for tree and vine varieties and for twenty-five years for all other varieties, as of the date of its issuance.

The bodies participating in the procedure for granting legal protection to new plant varieties are the  Executive Agency of Variety Testing Field Inspection and Seed Control and the Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria.

A certificate for a new plant variety is granted when it is new, different, homogeneous and stable.

The variety must have a variety denomination that is associated with its genetic designation and serves to identify it. It must be distinguished from any other denomination used in the country for this species or for closely related species.

The variety is new when, on the day of application for the certificate, it or the propagating material or its harvest is not offered for sale, sold, subjected to another trade or offered with the consent of the breeder as follows:

  • on the territory of the country for not more than 1 year;
  • on the territory of any other country for not more than 6 years for trees and vines and not more than 4 years for any other plant species.

The variety is different when it is clearly distinguishable from any other variety which is well known at the date of application. The variety is homogeneous when, despite the presence of small deviations, the plants are identical in their essential features, including in terms of the peculiarities of their field and vegetative propagation. The variety is stable when it remains unchanged in its essential characteristics after repeated reproduction.

The application for a variety certificate shall be filed with the Patent Office and shall be entered in the log of applications for varieties. The date of submission is considered to be the date on which the following documents were received by the Patent Office:

  • application for issuance of a certificate for a variety, with identification data of the applicant and the author of the variety;
  • description of the variety;
  • proposal for variety denomination;
  • completed technical questionnaire for the species;
  • paid fees for application and publication of the application.

An application for a certificate for a variety, on which a preliminary examination has been carried out, shall be submitted within one month to the Executive Agency of Variety Testing Field Inspection and Seed Control, which shall perform an examination on the merits. The applicant is required to pay the relevant fee for expertise.

The Patent Office shall publish the application in its Official Bulletin after the 4th month, but not later than the 6th month from the date of submission. All protection actions after the examination are essentially carried out by the Patent Office on the basis of the decisions and reports of the Executive Agency of Variety Testing Field Inspection and Seed Control.

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