With the aim of obtaining Belgian plant breeders' rights for a plant variety, you must submit a plant breeders' rights application and technical questionnaire for the variety to the Belgian Intellectual Property Office (IPObel) and also pay the filing tax.

For the plant breeders' rights application, it is strongly recommended that you use the plant breeders' rights application form (Dutch (DOC, 85.5 KB) - French (DOC, 69.5 KB)) provided by the IPObel.

For the technical questionnaire, which is specific to the plant species in question, you can use the relevant current questionnaire provided by the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) or the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO), or the technical questionnaire that the IPObel will provide at your request.

Complete the plant breeders' rights application and technical questionnaire carefully. Book XI of the Code of Economic Law and the Royal Decree of 12 May 2015 on the implementation of the provisions regarding plant breeders' rights impose a number of formal conditions, such as

  • at least a provisional denomination of the variety,
  • a description of the characteristics of the variety which, in the opinion of the applicant, make it clearly distinguishable from other varieties,
  • the date and country of the first relinquishment of components or crop material of the variety,
  • etc.

You can be represented by an expert or an authorised representative for IPObel procedures relating to plant breeders' rights. However, for such representation, the original power of attorney of the expert or authorised representative must be submitted to the IPObel, potentially by using the form "Power of attorney for the application to grant plant breeders' rights (Dutch (DOC, 62 KB)French (DOC, 44 KB))" provided by the IPObel.

The application for plant breeders’ rights and the technical questionnaire (as well as, if applicable, the power of attorney of the representative) must be submitted in person, by post or by fax to the IPObel. If submitted by fax, the original copy must reach the IPObel within 14 calendar days of the date of receipt of the fax.

The filing tax must be paid by transfer to the bank account of the Intellectual Property Office Belgium: BE52 6792 0037 3809.

On receipt of the plant breeders' rights application documents, the IPObel checks whether, based on the documents submitted and the fee paid, all requirements for assigning a filing date have been met. This date is important to determine which application was filed first, whether the variety was new and distinct at the time of the application and whether the priority right can be invoked.

For every application that received a filing date, the IPObel publishes an extract of the key data in the Bulletin of plant varieties. Following publication, all interested parties can consult the application at the IPObel during the granting procedure and raise objections relating to the material protection conditions (distinction, uniformity, stability, novelty), the identity of the breeder and the denomination of the variety (in this case within three months of the publication of the proposed denomination).

In the next stage, the IPObel verifies whether the filed documents meet all the formal requirements and whether the first part of the material protection conditions has been met, i.e. whether the plant variety that is subject of the application is new and whether the proposed denomination for this variety is valid. If it seems necessary or appropriate to change the proposed variety denomination, the applicant may submit another proposed denomination. To file this new proposal, it is strongly recommended to use the variety denomination proposal form, which can be provided by the IPObel.

When all the above-mentioned conditions have been met, the IPObel, in consultation with and at the expense of the applicant, orders a technical examination from an external research center to have the remaining material protection conditions examined, i.e. whether the plant variety that is the subject of the application is sufficiently distinct, stable and uniform for the granting of plant breeders' rights. For this purpose, the research center is conducting field trials covering several growth cycles of the plant variety. However, during the IPObel granting procedure, it is possible to request the reuse of a technical examination, for the same plant variety, which has been prepared in advance in the context of an application procedure for plant breeders' rights from another office or a procedure for the registration of the variety in a national catalogue. The costs for a new technical examination may be avoided, if the requested reuse is admissible.

Once the results of the technical examination and any third-party objections have been analysed, the IPObel will decide whether or not to grant the plant breeders' rights for the plant variety. If the plant breeders' rights are granted, the holder will receive a breeder's certificate as proof.

Plant breeders' rights applications and granted plant breeders' rights are recorded in a register that is open for public inspection, at the offices of the IPObel.

Extracts of the register can be provided at the request of any interested person.

Any person with a legitimate interest may, under certain conditions:

  1. consult the documents relating to a plant breeders' rights application;
  2. consult the documents relating to granted plant breeders' rights;
  3. visit the growing trials intended for the technical examination of a variety, and
  4. visit the growing trials for the purpose of technical control of the maintenance of a variety 

If you have any questions, contact IPObel.

Last update
24 March 2022