Significant time and effort goes into the development of new plant varieties. Protecting and effectively exploiting your intellectual property (IP) through plant breeder’s rights (PBR) can be a key aspect of maximising the long term value in your business.

We work with plant breeders and researchers to develop the best strategy for plant variety protection, commercialisation and enforcement.

We offer the following services in the PBR field:

  • Strategy development for the protection of new plant varieties, both domestically and internationally, including:
    • assistance with the preparation and filing of applications for PBR in Australia and internationally
    • advice as to the possibility of patent protection. Whilst a new variety may be protected by PBR, the genetic transformation techniques used to develop a plant variety, identification of mutations causing the phenotype, markers for that mutation or the resulting plant variety itself might also be protected by patent
    • advice in relation to plant variety names and the best strategy for trade mark protection to assist in the marketing of the variety.
  • Filing and prosecution of applications for PBR both in Australia and internationally, including:
    • ensuring that the requirements for PBR protection are met including in relation to eligibility, the application process and the distinctness, uniformity and stability (DUS) requirements for plant variety protection
    • identifying and engaging an appropriate Qualified Person (QP) to assist breeders with the PBR application process and the establishment of growing out trials to demonstrate that the variety meets the DUS requirements for new PBRs. A QP works with plant breeders in relation to trial design, choice of comparator varieties, data collection & analysis, photography and writing the detailed description of the plant variety.
  • Advice and assistance in relation to the commercialisation of PBR varieties in Australia and internationally, including:
    • implementation or review of licensing and commercialisation strategies both in Australia and overseas, such as upfront royalties on propagating material or end-point or crop improvement royalties schemes
    • drafting and review of licensing, royalty, non-propagation agreements and other PBR related agreements.
  • Pre-grant objections to PBR applications
    • Advice on and the conduct or defence of objections to PBR applications
  • Revocation of existing PBRs
    • Unlike many other IP rights, the legislation in Australia provides for revocation of an existing PBR before the Plant Breeder’s Rights Office (PBRO), where the Registrar is satisfied that the existing facts that had been known before grant would have resulted in a refusal to grant the PBR. POF can assist with the conduct and defence of applications for revocation of existing PBRs before the PBRO.
  • Resolution of disputes in the PBR area including the enforcement or defence of PBR rights in the Federal Court of Australia and other alternative dispute resolution strategies.

Who to contact


David works in all areas of IP litigation and dispute resolution. He has significant experience in PBR, patent, designs, copyright, trade marks and trade practice matters. He has a particular interest in the life sciences and has been involved in major patent litigation in the chemical, plant biotechnology and pharmaceutical fields as well as plant breeder’s rights litigation in the pomme fruit and ornamental plant areas. David also advises clients on non-contentious aspects of IP including in relation to non-propagation and licensing agreements common in the plant breeder industry.

To find out more, please contact

David at