Part 5. Plant Varieties Journal

Date Published

The Plant Varieties Journal (PVJ) is the official journal published by the Plant Breeder’s Rights Office (PBRO).  PVJ is published quarterly under the public notice provision of section 68 (1) of the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act 1994.  It also provides general information about the Plant Breeder’s Rights Scheme, Public notices of Acceptance and Grant, procedures for objections and revocations, UPOV developments, important changes and official notices.

The web structure of the journal is generated from the PBR web database and the PVJ Co-ordinator (an Examiner) is responsible for creating and editing the journal from finalised descriptions and other related documents.

  • Detailed descriptions are lodged by Qualified Persons (QPs) via IVDS (Interactive Variety Description System) and all descriptions must be submitted as a draft in the first instance.
  • The Examiner downloads the description and saves the file in the relevant directory by naming the application number as a file name (for example, 2003252.doc).
  • The downloaded file is a Word document which needs to be edited and formatted by transferring the information into the Part 2 template.

Editing the description

1. Open the relevant file for editing. The file should be located in the most current PVJ folder.

2. Check the Details of Application section, this section of the description is extracted directly from the PBR database. Details of the application should be checked against the corresponding case file.

3. Check the details of the Comparative Trial Section:

  • Check the relevant UPOV Test Guidelines (if available) for consistency against the trial design and number of plants used.
  • Use the version of the UPOV test guideline available at the time of the comparative trial.
  • If a UPOV Test Guideline is not available for the species, use the relevant PBR National Descriptor (ND).
  • Check the period, trial design, observation methods and measurements used.

3. Check the Origin and Breeding section for consistency with the information provided in the accepted Part 1 application. This section should be cross checked with Q17, Q18 and Q19 of the Part 1 application for accuracy. If there is any inconsistency, correct it according to the information provided in the Part 1 application and highlight the correction.

4. Check the Choice of Comparators section for consistency of grouping characteristics against the Variety Description and Distinctness table. The grouping characteristics should have the same (or similar) state of expression between the candidate and the comparator varieties. This justifies the rationale behind the choice of comparators:

  • It is important for the examiner to ensure that the parental/source material is either included in the comparative trial or clearly excluded by the nominated grouping characteristics. Alternatively, reasons why the parental/source material were not included in the comparative trial may be included in the Varieties of Common Knowledge identified and subsequently excluded section.

5. Check the Most Similar Varieties of Common Knowledge identified (VCK) section. It is the sole responsibility of the QP to select the VCK, however, examiners should check the Part 1 Application form to ensure the same VCKs were mentioned in the Part 1 application (Q18).  If the same VCK are not included in the trial, see the Varieties of Common Knowledge identified and subsequently excluded section below.

6. Check the Varieties of Common Knowledge identified and subsequently excluded section. In addition to other VCKs that were omitted, the QP must clearly identify why a VCK named in the Part 1 application form was omitted in the trial. The reasons for making this change must be documented in the case file.

Variety description and distinctness

  1. Check the description against the field examination’s data/photo for consistency and accuracy.
  2. Characteristics which distinguish the candidate from one or more of the comparators are marked with a tick.
  3. Check that all the asterisked characteristics in the TG are included in the description.
  4. Where the QP claims distinctness, make sure that the relevant characteristics are ticked “clearly distinguishable”.
  5. Examiners are to ensure there is no overlap in the states of expression in claiming distinctness. For example: the state of expression “tall” for the characteristic Plant height is clearly distinguishable from “short”; but not clearly distinguishable for “medium to tall” because of overlap. In such cases, a statistical analysis with P≤0.01 will be necessary to claim distinctness.
  6. Mark and remove the tick if any characteristic is found to be non-distinct.

Characteristics additional to the descriptor/TG

This is an optional section, however, many QPs take the advantage of this section to “build” additional characteristics to show distinctness of the candidate variety. The criterion for an additional characteristic is discussed in the UPOV General Introduction (TG/1/3). In general, the additional characteristic:

  • should result from a given genotype or combination of genotypes.
  • is sufficiently consistent and repeatable in a particular environment.
  • exhibits sufficient variations between varieties.
  • is capable of precise definition and recognition.

Statistical table

  • Check that the statistical data is consistent with the main Variety Description and Distinctness table.
  • Check the LSD values for claiming distinctness. For claiming distinctness the mean difference between two varieties for a measured characteristic should exceed or equal to the LSD value at P≤0.01.
  • For cross-pollinated varieties, the standard deviation ratios should be checked for uniformity criteria. The standard deviation ratio between the candidate and comparator varieties should not be higher than the prescribed threshold limit for that sample number.

Prior application and sales

The examiner adds Prior Applications from information obtained from the UPOV Pluto Database and prior sale information from Questions 15 and 16 of the Part 1 application.

Returning the edited description to the QP

  • After editing the word document the examiner emails the relevant qualified person for further corrections setting a deadline for their response. The description needs to be finalised by that deadline.
  • In conjunction with the description a comparative photo is also published in the Journal. All photos and caption should be edited and saved in the respective journal folder.
  • When the QP submits the final version of the description via IVDS, the examiner cross-checks the final version against the final edited description to make sure that there is no discrepancy between the Word document and the final IVDS draft.
  • If the examiner is not satisfied they reject the description (explaining the reasons why) and return it to the QP for further changes.
  • The last line of the description has the author’s name which is normally the name of the QP along with their company name, town and state.
  • After finalising the descriptions, photos and captions for photos, the examiner sends the descriptions list to the PVJ co-ordinator.

It is the PVJ co-ordinator's responsibility to convert the final word document into PDF, creating the Acceptance list, Grant list and other related documents. The PVJ Coordinator then compiles the Journal, establishing internal links and updating the web database.  When the journal is fully functional the co-ordinator saves the journal in the relevant directory with an appropriate file name and sends it to the web team for publishing on the IP Australia website. Once they get confirmation from the web team, the PVJ co-ordinator updates the publication date in the description in PBR main database.

Amended Reasons

Amended Reason Date Amended

MM Approving and checking flows

Changed s68 link to AustLII

Back to top