What are Plant Breeders’ Rights?

Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) are legal rights granted to the owner of a new tree fruit variety that gives the owner exclusive control over the propagation of that new variety for 25 years. The owner has the right to allow others to propagate the variety in return for the payment of a royalty

What is a royalty?

Growers pay a royalty to a variety owner in exchange for the right to grow and produce fruit from a PBR protected variety. Royalties are collected on each tree sold in Canada.

Why should I pay royalties?

Royalty payments support the cost of global protection, the development and testing of new varieties helping to ensure the long-term viability of the BC tree fruit industry , horticultural research, and the successful promotion of new varieties in Canadian markets. Industry money can be matched with government funding, guaranteeing a greater return on your investment.

Why do I have to sign a Grower Agreement?

A Grower Agreement protects you. It proves that the trees you have are legal and that you have paid the royalties to the variety owner. It also ensures that you will not give away propagative material to a third party which would then expose that party to PBR infringement, which is a federal offence.

What am I agreeing to when I sign a Grower Agreement?

You are agreeing to the following points when you sign the Grower Agreement:

  • You will not give away or sell trees or propagative material to a third party. This would be an infringement under Plant Breeders’ Rights.
  • You will not further propagate the variety on your land. For example, if your Grower Agreement states that you have paid royalties for 1,000 trees then that is the maximum number of trees that you are allowed to grow. You would have to sign another Grower Agreement and pay additional royalties to grow more trees.
  • You will not perform genetic transformation on your licensed trees.
  • You will report sports and mutations to Summerland Varieties Corp. (SVC) because those sports and mutations are still the property of the variety owner.
  • You will allow SVC access to your orchard to verify numbers of licensed trees.
  • You will make sure that you sell the fruit of the variety under the correct name. In other words, you cannot make up a new name for the fruit.
  • You will let SVC know when you sell or lease your property.

What happens if I did not sign a Grower Agreement?

If you are growing a Protected Variety and you have not signed a Grower Agreement, you may be breaching Plant Breeders’ Rights and growing trees illegally. You can immediately rectify this situation by contacting SVC and self-reporting. SVC will send you a Grower Agreement as well as an invoice for any outstanding royalty payments.

Do I have to sign a Grower Agreement every time I buy PBR protected trees?

Yes. Every time you purchase a PBR protected variety, you must sign a Grower Agreement.

If I pay the royalties, can I give or sell some trees to someone else?

No. You may not provide (assign) trees to a third party. However, if you have too many trees of a variety, you may contact SVC to arrange a transfer of those trees to a third party. SVC will ensure that the third party signs a Grower Agreement and will document the fact that royalties are paid.

Can I move my trees?

Yes. You may move trees from one property to another as long as you are the owner or leasee of those properties.

What if I sell my property?

If you sell your property, you must contact SVC with the name of the new owner, and you must give a copy of your Grower Agreements to the new owner. It is SVC’s responsibility to ensure that the new owner signs an updated Grower Agreement.

Can I make my own trees?

No. You have agreed to no further propagation upon signing the Grower Agreement and accepting trees or propagative material of the protected variety.

Can I buy trees or buds from my neighbour?

No. Trees and buds of Protected Varieties may only be purchased from sources that have been authorized by SVC. Authorized sources ensure that you sign a Grower Agreement before taking possession of trees or propagative material. Authorized sources also ensure that the royalties paid by you are remitted to the variety owner.

Who are authorized sources of SVC managed varieties?

The following is a list of authorized sources of varieties that are managed by SVC:

Authorized source of budwood and scionwood: Summerland Varieties Corp.

Authorized sources of finished trees:

Canadian Sources

Bud Grafting Ltd
Byland's Nurseries Ltd.
Grindstone Creek
KD Fruit & Vegetable
Mann Orchard & Nursery
Mori Nurseries Ltd.
Payless Grafting
Pepiniere Rochon Inc.
Pepiniere Dominique Savio Nursery
Stewart Bros
Van Brenk's Fruit Farm and Nursery
Warwick Orchards & Nursery Ltd.
V. Kraus Nurseries Ltd.

US Sources

Brandt's Fruit Trees Inc
Burchell Nursery, Inc.
C&O Nursery
Cameron Nursery, LLC
Dave Wilson Nursery Incorporated
Fowler Nurseries
Helios Nursery
Hilltop Fruit Trees, LLC
ProTree Nursery, LLC
Sierra Gold
Van Well Nursery
Willow Drive Nursery

What happens if I did not purchase my trees or propagative material from an authorized source?

If your trees or propagative material came from an unauthorized source then contact SVC to self-report. SVC will send you a Grower Agreement as well as an invoice for any outstanding royalty payments.