- Part 1. Quality
- Part 2. Qualified Persons
- Part 3. Acceptance of Applications
- Part 4. Test Growing
- Part 5. Plant Varieties Journal
- Part 6. Public Comments
- Part 7. Grant of Plant Breeder's Rights
- Part 8. Refusing an Application for PBR
Qualified Persons (QPs)
Section 8 of the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act 1994 (the Act) establishes “Approved Persons”, who, on the basis of their qualifications and experience, are designated by the Registrar for the testing of one or more species of plant. To avoid confusion with approved persons in other legislation, the industry coined the term “Qualified Person” or QP.
The Act requires that each PBR application has a QP. This is a mandatory requirement. Their role is to verify the application; supervise the test growing; produce and submit the detailed description of the variety; and to provide other particulars necessary to meet the evidentiary threshold for PBR registration.
- QPs have some similarities to patent and trademark attorneys, however their focus is very much on the technical and botanical matters. A small number of attorneys have been accredited as QPs. Some breeders/applicants have also been accredited.
Categories of QPs
There are two categories of QPs:
- Consultant QPs: they are accredited to act as consultants to PBR applicants or their agents. The consultant QPs offer their paid services to the applicant or their agents on a mutually agreed basis.
- Non-consultant QPs: they are accredited only to work on applications for which they are the breeder, owner or authorised agent or an employee of the breeder, owner or authorised agent.
How to apply
All prospective QPs must be legal residents of Australia or New Zealand and need to apply to IP Australia for accreditation before they can assist PBR applicants. The accreditation process involves a written application outlining their qualifications, experience and the names of three referees. As a minimum the application must contain the following information:
- Full contact details including an email address
- Current employment details
- Relevant experience
- Species or group of species for which accreditation is sought
- The geographical area in which you are able to act as a QP
- Three referees' contact details
- Whether consultant or non-consultant status is being sought
- The accreditation fee ( $50)
Each QP must also attend training workshops provided by IP Australia to retain their accreditation. These measures aim to ensure that the PBR grants are technically rigorous and legally sustainable.
List of QPs
Role of QPs in the PBR application process
QPs act as technical experts for the applicants or their agents. When applying for PBR, the applicants or their agents must nominate a QP for each application. This is done using the Nomination of a Qualified Person form (PBR00005). The form helps to determine what functions the qualified person will perform in preparing the PBR application. These include the following mandatory functions:
- Determine the most similar varieties of common knowledge and the need to include the parental material in the trial.
- Completion of PBR Part 2 application form.
- Certification of Part 2 Application form (PBR00006).
- Provide a detailed description of the variety in the PBR approved format via the Interactive Variety Description System.
In addition to the above functions, the QPs may be involved in the following roles in agreement with the applicants or their agents:
- Completion of PBR Part 1 application form.
- Planning the test growing trial.
- Recommending the most appropriate trial site for the varieties in the trial.
- Supervision of the layout and planting of the trial.
- Care and maintenance of the trial.
- Instruction to the applicant on the timing and nature of observations and measurements needed.
- Provide observations, data and statistical analysis of the DUS trial for the applicant.
- Provide a comparative digital image of the variety showing its distinct characteristics.
- Make observations and measurement to comply with the approved DUS test guidelines.
The qualified persons must certify the completed PBR Part 2 Application by submitting the Certification by the Qualified Person form (PBR00006), which outlines exactly which functions the qualified person undertook or supervised in relation to the application.
Maintaining QP accreditation
To validate and maintain their accreditation, QPs must attend a workshop and keep abreast of developments in PBR. They are also required to pay an annual accreditation fee ($50). Invoices are sent out one month prior to the due date.