Debate on the bill to amend the Law on Seeds and Phytogenetic Creations in the Chamber of Deputies
Although there is a broad consensus in the sector for some time as regards the need to amend the Law on Seeds and Phytogenetic Creations (Law 20,247), which dates back to 1973, the debate on the new law has been postponed once again. Last November 13, the bill had obtained the ruling from the Commissions on Agriculture, Budget and Treasury, and General Legislation of the Chamber of Deputies. However, the debate was postponed to 2019.
A country like Argentina, which has an important role in the sector in terms of production and generation of new technologies, cannot remain indifferent to the recognition of the intellectual property. In this sense, by not adhering to the revision of the 1991 UPOV rules, the protection of new plant varieties is regulated by an outdated law which does not take into account the changes produced in the sector in the last 50 years.
The bill, which must still be debated by both chambers and regulated, comes to remedy some of the deficiencies generated by a law that was drafted in an absolutely different context. Specifically, the relevant aspects that were ruled last month are the following ones:
- To empower the National Seed Institute (INASE) as the only agency for the control of seed technology. INASE would also incorporate personnel from UATRE and SENASA.
- To unify all intellectual property rights in one single payment, for example, when buying the seed or by paying a tax for each spreading. In addition, the value of the tax to be paid for intellectual property rights during the next five years would be fixed.
- To establish the breeder’s exception.
- To limit the own use, establishing the payment for this concept in each spreading or multiplication.
- To include an exception to the own use payment for farmers enrolled in the National Family Farming Registry (RENAF), for the native peoples and for farmers who are included in the immediate previous financial year under the billing parameters of the smallest company category (MicroSMEs).
- To declare the limited own use, the breeder’s exception, the control to be exercised by the INASE and the single payment of royalties of “public order”.
- To allow one and a half times reduction in the amount for the purchase of seeds charged as expense for the payment of the Income Tax.
Although the future of the bill is uncertain, the debate is expected to take place in the Congress during the first semester of 2019.