Good news for breeders of asexually reproduced varieties! Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it was indefinitely waiving the germplasm deposit requirement for Plant Variety Protection (PVP) for asexually reproduced varieties. Thus, any breeder seeking PVP protection for an asexually reproduced variety will not have to make a tissue culture deposit of plant material, and will never be required to do so for any applications filed during this indefinite waiver period. This could make PVPs a very attractive option for certain breeders of asexually reproduced varieties, especially given that PVPs can offer some advantages over U.S. Plant Patents in regard to timing and length of protection (e.g., 25 year term for trees and vines, term based on issue date for PVP as opposed to filing date for Plant Patents, and a longer novelty grace period for overseas sales) as well as scope of protection (e.g., additional protections for essentially derived varieties [EDVs]).
When seeking a PVP for an asexually reproduced variety, the applicant is required “to make a declaration that the propagating material will be maintained at a specific physical location, subject to Plant Variety Protection Office inspection when requested; and (ii) to make a declaration that propagating material will be provided within three months of a request by the Plant Variety Protection Office. Failure to provide propagating material as requested shall result in the certificate being regarded as abandoned.” The complete USDA announcement can be found here: https://www.ams.usda.gov/content/usda-announces-delay-germplasm-deposit-requirement-asexually-reproduced-varieties-protected