Protection is offered through The Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA), which was passed in 1970 and amended in 1994. The PVPA is not administered by the US Patent and Trademark Office, but by the Plant Variety Protection Office (PVPO), under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- Covers true breeding plant varieties sexually reproduced (by seed) or tuber propagated. A plant must be new, distinct, uniform, and stable
- Gives certificate holders the right to exclude others from selling, reproducing, importing or using a variety in producing a hybrid or different variety.
- Coverage extends for 20 years.
- Includes two exemptions (that differentiate it from plant or utility patents):
- Farmers who have purchased the plant seed the right to save seed for replanting.
- Allows breeders or researchers to use the seed for developing a new variety.
- This is a public database, updated approximately monthly.
- The information is provided through the Germplasm Resources Information Network, which is maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.
- The database includes active and expired certificates and can be searched by PV Number/Variety Name or by Applicant or Owner Name.