Plant Varieties and Seeds Act 1964

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Plant Varieties and Seeds Act 1964[1]
Long titleAn Act to provide for the granting of proprietary rights to persons who breed or discover plant varieties and for the issue of compulsory licences in respect thereof; to establish a tribunal to hear appeals and other proceedings relating to the rights, and to exclude certain agreements relating to the rights from Part I of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1956; to confer power to regulate, and to amend in other respects the law relating to, transactions in seeds and seed potatoes, including provision for the testing of seeds and seed potatoes, the establishment of an index of names of varieties and the imposition of restrictions as respects the introduction of new varieties; to control the import of seeds and seed potatoes; to authorise measures to prevent injurious cross-pollination; and for connected purposes.
Citation1964 c 14
Royal assent12 March 1964
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

The Plant Varieties and Seeds Act 1964 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed to allow regulation of the sale of plants.[2] It was enacted for the UK to comply with its obligations as a member of International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants.[3]

In 1968, the Act was further modified to prohibit plant breeders to sell goods under any other name aside from what was registered with the Registrar of Plant Variety Rights. This raised criticism in Parliament because the Register only accepted certain types of names and stopped breeders from being able to sell plants under double names.[4]

In 1997, the Act was revised in order to align with terms outlined by the European Union, which came into effect on 8 May 1998.[5] The Act was brought into question again by the European Union in September 2013 because of the complexity and diversity of existing laws, to be replaced by the EU Regulation of Plant Reproductive Material. Writing in The Guardian, Graham Spencer was strongly critical of the changes, claiming they would affect over 50,000 varieties of plants and make it extremely difficult and expensive for farmers to go through the correct process of registering the name.[6]


  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title is authorised by section 41(1) of this Act.
  2. ^ "Seed Legislation". DEFRA. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  3. ^ Revised text of the Plant Varieties and Seeds Act 1964. Accessed on 18 October 2013.
  4. ^ HC Deb 21 February 1968, vol 759, cols 576 – 584 per Michael Jopling. Digitised copy.
  5. ^ "Information for IP Professionals". Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  6. ^ Spencer, Graham (26 September 2013). "This European law could change Britain's gardens forever". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 October 2013.