Experts in IP Protection for Plant Variety Inventions

Improvement of crop and ornamental species by genetic modification or modern breeding techniques remains a significant area of innovation. A number of IP rights may be suitable for protecting plant inventions, including patents, trade marks, plant Variety Rights (PVRs) and entry on the national list or common catalogue. Our experienced IP specialists are well placed to assist our clients in this area, having a wealth of practical experience.

In Europe, individual plant varieties that are distinct, uniform and stable can be protected either nationally or at European Community level. Separately, European and national patents can be obtained for plants and plant-related inventions which are not restricted to plant varieties per se, although certain plant breeding methods and plants obtained by those methods are excluded from patentability.  Despite the EU’s strict policies on growing genetically modified crops and uncertainty surrounding the use of genetic resources in plant breeding, there is considerable commercial interest in these technical areas and in IP protection for the output of biotech research and classical breeding programs.

Our expert IP team is led by Frances Salisbury, who has a PhD in plant molecular genetics. An expert in this field Frances has completed the official World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) course on Plant Variety Protection under the UPOV Convention.

Read our Plant Variety Rights Law and Practice guide.

Meet our specialists

Fran Salisbury-1

Partner, Patent Attorney

Nick Sutcliffe-1

Partner,  Patent Attorney


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Mewburn Ellis Forward is a biannual publication that celebrates the best of innovation and exploration. Through its pages we hope to inform and entertain, but also to encourage discussion about the most compelling developments taking place in the scientific and entrepreneurial world. Along the way, we’ll engage with the IP challenges that international organisations face every day.