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Tough IPR Protection to Energize Seed Industry Development

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2022-04-28 14:21:29 | Author: ZHONG Jianli

A researcher conducts seed experiments at Yazhou Bay SeedLaboratory in Sanya, south China's Hainan province. (PHOTO: XINHUA)

By ZHONG Jianli

China will introduce stronger intellectual property rights (IPRs) protection for the seed industry to boost innovation on new plant varieties, and strive to form a complete system for protecting the IPRs of seeds by 2023, according to a guideline issued recently by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and eight other departments.

Dubbed as "chips" of agriculture, seeds are the foundation of modern agricultural development and national food security. Though the country has had years of bumper harvests, China depends to some extent on foreign seed varieties.

To realize self-reliance and self-strengthening in the seeds industry, the country has made efforts to revise its related law and policy.

In December last year, the 32nd Session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress passed a decision to revise the Seed Law of China. The revision became effective on March 1, 2022.

The newly released guideline is to further implement requirements of the revised Seed Law, by expanding the scope of IPR protection for new plant varieties and establishing the essential derivation variety system.

China has seen significant progress in R&D of germplasm in recent years, as Chinese scientists have completed sequencing or resequencing a variety of key agricultural crops. Yet, the country's seed industry is still facing a lack of originality in cutting-edge and core technologies, and basic research.

Therefore, the guideline also proposes to encourage original innovation and intensify investigation on major IPR infringement cases.

In order to explore the establishment of the "seeds identity" management system, the guideline calls for speeding up the R&D of molecular detection technology, the formulation of relevant standards, and the establishment of the DNA fingerprint database.

With wider application of information technology including big data, the "one variety, one name, one standard sample, and one fingerprint" whole-process traceability management system should be established, according to the guideline.

Editor: 钟建丽

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