Dr. Cui Yehan, Chief Agronomist of the Development Center of Science and Technology of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARA), was elected Council President of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) on the 56th Council Meeting. Dr. Cui is the first Chinese to hold this position since UPOV’s inception. The presidential term will last three years.
China promulgated and implemented the Regulations on the Protection of New Varieties of Plants in 1997, and has made great progress in protecting new varieties of plants over the past 25 years. In recent years, as China strives to increase its strength in intellectual property rights (IPR), the protection of new plant varieties has also been enhanced. China’s plant variety application per year has ranked 1st globally for five consecutive years since 2017. As of September 2022, MARA has received a total of 57,863 applications regarding new plant variety rights and approved 21,652 of them, thus increasing the global competency of China’s seed industry.
The election of Dr. Cui as UPOV Council President suggests that the international community highly recognizes China’s efforts in protecting new plant varieties. It will help deepen exchanges and cooperation among China, UPOV and UPOV members, strengthen IPR protection in China’s seed industry, and enhance its global influence, so as to facilitate the revitalization of the industry and boost China’s agricultural prowess.
Established in 1961 by the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, UPOV is the most important international intergovernmental organization in the field of seed industry IPR. It now has 78 members from 97 countries. China joined UPOV in 1999 as its 39th member. As the highest decision-making body of UPOV, the Council is composed of representatives of all members, and has an Advisory Committee, an Administrative and Legal Committee, and a Technical Committee.