APSA Virtual Technical Session 2021 - Standing Committee on Intellectual Property Rights & Biodiversity 23 November 2021 / 14:30 - 17:30 hrs ICT (GMT+7)

Standing Committee on Intellectual Property Rights & Biodiversity
Tuesday the 23rd of November 2021
14:30 - 17:30 hrs ICT (GMT+7)



14.30 – 14.35

Opening Remarks
Dr. Arvind Kapur, Chair, APSA Standing Committee on Intellectual Property Rights & Biodiversity

14.35 – 14.45

General Update on ITPGRFA and Specially ABS
Ms. Anke van den Hurk, Deputy Director, Plantum

14.45 – 14.55

Update on ABS Legislation in India
Dr. Shivendra Bajaj, Executive Director, Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII)

14.55 – 15.10

Q&A Session

15.10 – 15.20

Update on CBD Discussions Relating to ABS and ‘Digital Sequence Information’
Ms. Daphne Yong d’Hervé, Director, Peace and Prosperity, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)

15.20 – 15.30

Update on International Discussions on Farmers’ Rights
Mr. Satoshi Nakano, Section Chief, Global Environmental Affairs Office, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF)

15.30 – 15.45 

Q&A Session

15.45 – 16.00

Session Summary
Ms. Anke van den Hurk, Deputy Director, Plantum

16.00 – 16.30

Online Coffee Break

PLANT VARIETY PROTECTION: Moderated by Mr. Fabrice Mattei, Committee Member, APSA Standing Committee on Intellectual Property Rights & Biodiversity

16.30 – 16.45

PVP Survey Result by World Farmer Organization (WFO)
Ms. Hélène Khan Niazi, International Agricultural Manager, International Seed Federation (ISF)

16.45 – 17.00

Plant Breeder’s Right (PBR) and Farmer’s Rights: What is Happening in the APAC Region?
Dr. Arvind Kapur, Chair, APSA Standing Committee on Intellectual Property Rights & Biodiversity

17:00 - 17:15

Infringement in the APAC Region / SIPI Introduction
Mr. Harendra Singh, Managing Director, Rijk Zwaan India

17.15 – 17.25

Q&A Session

17.25 – 17.30

Session Summary & Closing Remarks
Mr. Liam Gimon, Co–Chair, APSA Standing Committee on Intellectual Property Rights & Biodiversity


Ms. Anke van den Hurk
Deputy Director

Ms. Anke van den Hurk is currently the Deputy Director, Plantum NL, The Dutch association for breeding, tissue culture, production and trade of seeds and young plants. She is part of the core management team of Plantum and is particularly responsible for the international activities of the association. Furthermore, she is responsible for the vegetable seed department of Plantum, international corporate social responsibility and the biodiversity dossier, in particular the debate on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS).  She represents the seed sector in the international meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Nagoya Protocol and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for food and Agriculture (IT PGRFA) and is actively involved in the implementation of the international agreements in Europe and other countries.  Within the seed sector, she is leading various committees related to these issues, such as the Sustainable Agriculture Committee of the International Seed Federation (ISF), and the Working Group Biodiversity of the European Seed Association (ESA). She has served on the Executive Committee of APSA (2010-2016) and has been an important member of the IPR & BD, as well as Trade & Marketing Standing Committees. With an MSc in Plant Breeding, Ms. Anke, before joining Plantum about 20 years ago, was working as a breeder in vegetables for Nunhems Seeds; as Research Fellow on biodiversity conservation in Italy and Colombia at Bioversity, and as a teacher at an agricultural university in Mekele, Ethiopia

Dr. Shivendra Bajaj
Executive Director
Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII)

Dr Shivendra Bajaj holds office of the Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII) and Alliance for Agri Innovation (AAI) as the Executive Director. He manages the 40-member led association to drive public policies and advocates for adoption of seed and biotechnology policy, innovation, new technologies and breeding applications in the agriculture sector. Dr Bajaj works with stakeholders such as with central and state governments, regulators, media to inform and educate them about the role and benefits of biotechnology for farmers and agriculture. Dr Bajaj has over 20 years of experience in the seed industry and has worked in several multinational organisations as a regulatory expert in biotechnology. Previously, as the Executive Director of Association of Biotech Led Enterprises- Agriculture Focus Group (ABLE AG), he represented the industry on agricultural biotechnology across National and International platforms.

Development of Biodiversity Legislation/Access and Benefit Sharing in India:
India is signatory to all treaties related to Access and Benefit Sharing of biological resources. India became party to CBD in 1994, Nagoya protocol in 2014 and the ITPGRFA came into force in India in 2004. The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) is the statutory body established by the Indian government in 2003 to implement India’s Biological Diversity Act (BDA) of 2002. The NBA governs the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of biological resources. The NBA functions under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. The seed industry through Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII) has been engaging with the NBA seek clarifications and NBA also has conducted several awareness sessions on the provisions of the BDA, 2002. More recently, NBA brought draft ABS guidelines in 2019 and invited public comments. NBA also brought an office memorandum in 2018 which gave industry including seed companies an amnesty to declare the accessions made and sign an agreement with NBA with payment of a fee for the past accessions. Majority of seed companies availed this opportunity and signed the agreement with NBA. Seed industry made a representation on the legal basis of this upfront accession fee but at the insistence of NBA paid this fee under protest. At the same time, FSII is making representations to the authorities for the inclusion all crops under Annexure I of the ITPGRFA covered under the multilateral system for exemption under the BDA, 2002.

Ms. Daphne Yong d’Hervé
Director, Peace and Prosperity
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)

Having coordinated business input into the Nagoya Protocol negotiations, Daphne continues to lead ICC work on specific biodiversity issues, in particular on access and benefit sharing, bringing the business perspective into discussions in the Convention on Biodiversity and other fora. She is also currently developing initiatives by ICC to address issues of broader societal impact, and to identify ways in which businesses can make a positive contribution to these. Previously ICC’s Chief Intellectual Property Officer, Daphne has also worked in the areas of competition and taxation. Before joining ICC, Daphne worked in law firms and in industry in Malaysia, London and Paris. 

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is aiming to conclude an agreement on global biodiversity targets for the next 10 years (the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework) at part 2 of COP-15, due to take place in April-May 2022. One of the key negotiating issues is how to deal with proposals to impose ABS obligations on “digital sequence information”.  The presentation will explain the negotiating process and dynamics, the possible evolution of the discussions, and the potential implications for business.

Mr. Satoshi Nakano
Section Chief, Global Environmental Affairs Office
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF)

Satoshi Nakano is working on the international negotiation on biodiversity under the Convention on Biological Diversity, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA), FAO. He is a member the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Farmers' Rights (AHTEG-FR), ITPGRFA and the National Focal Point of Japan to CGRFA. In the AHTEG-FR, he contributed to the development of the Inventory of National Measures, Best Practices and Lessons Learned from the Realization of Farmers’ Rights, and is now participating in drafting the Options for Encouraging, Guiding and Promoting the Realization of Farmers’ Rights. He has extensive experience in agricultural policies, including rural development, commodity trade, food safety and sustainability.

“Farmers’ Rights” is a broad notion. Article 9 of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) provides the protection of traditional knowledge, the right to equitably participate in benefit-sharing and the right to participate in making decisions at the national level as examples of Farmers’ Rights, and stipulates that the responsibility for realizing Farmers’ Rights, as they relate to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, rests with national governments. Members of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Farmers' Rights, ITPGRFA are intensely discussing how to realize Farmers' Rights. Their biggest issue is the relationship between intellectual property rights and Farmers' Rights. Further efforts are needed for mutually supportive implementation of the relevant international instrument.

Mr. Fabrice Mattei
Patent Attorney & Partner
Rouse & Co. International (Thailand) Co., Ltd.

Fabrice Mattei is a patent attorney and partner with the IP law firm Rouse (www.rouse.com) where he co-manages the global patent group. He has over 20 years of experience in patent protection and litigation in South-East Asia.  He is a member of the Standing Advisory Committee before the European Patent Office (EPO) and a consultant to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on biodiversity. Fabrice is a researcher on climate science at the University of Edinburgh, Carbon Innovation Center.



Ms. Hélène Khan Niazi
International Agricultural Manager
International Seed Federation (ISF)

Hélène Khan Niazi studied agricultural law in Paris, La Sorbonne, and became a lawyer at the French Seed Union for 3 years. She joined ISF in 2016 as international agricultural manager and is responsible for intellectual property policies and regulations around the access and benefit sharing of genetic resources.

The International Seed Federation is the voice of the global seed sector and represents the interests of the private seed sector in various fora. One of its missions is to promote Plant Breeders’ Rights at the international level. The engagement of the private seed sector at UPOV level has been strengthened in the past years, on topics such as the revision of the Explanatory Note on Essentially Derived Varieties and the use of Molecular Markers. To help its members to better understand the topics and challenges around intellectual property rights, ISF has edited a guide, available here: https://www.worldseed.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/IP-Guide-v15-31may2021.pdf
The balance between Breeders’ Rights and Farmers’ Rights is a long-term discussion where ISF is very much involved, to promote seed choice for farmers, whatever the size of their business be. A recent study from the World Farmers Organization is comforting the ask of farmers for quality and diverse seed.

Dr Arvind Kapur
APSA Standing Committee on Intellectual Property Rights & Biodiversity


Dr. Arvind Kapur is the Managing Director of Acsen HyVeg Pvt. Ltd. He is responsible for growth and strategic planning for the company. Dr. Kapur brings to his job over 3 decades of experience in National and Multinational Seed Industry. He has been instrumental in bringing about technological and managerial excellence in the Company's operations. He holds a Doctorate Degree in Plant Bio-Chemistry. He has rich experience of excellence in business and product development, leading cross functional teams, delivering strong and sustainable gains for launching hybrids in vegetable and field crops. Recently he was Identified amongst '10 Best Leaders in Agriculture Industry - 2020' by CEO Insights Magazine. Dr Kapur currently chairs the APSA Standing Committee on IPR & Biodiversity and is a former Secretary General of National Seed Association of India. As a part of many Technical and Business Organizations (Indo-Swiss Collaboration in Biotechnology; Confederation of Indian Industries; Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry in India; Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry, PHD Chambers of Commerce & Industry) he has promoted the cause of agriculture and biotechnology. Presently he is engaged in awareness program for IP related issue in Asia and Globally.

Asia and Pacific Seed Alliance (APSA), International Seed federation (ISF) and regional seed associations (Euroseeds, Seed Association of the Americas and African Seed Trade Association) have collaborated together to run the survey with the National seed associations in each region to understand the current situation regards the role and place of IP in different regions around the world and the realities of farmers and breeders in various countries. The results from this survey aims to understand the interrelation between Farmers’ and Breeders ‘rights as well as the support required from the national level toward the communication on this topic. The survey has been sent to national seed associations in APSA. The responses were received from national seed associations of UPOV member countries (Australia, China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam) and non-UPOV member countries (Bangladesh, India, Malaysia and Philippines). In general, there is no different types of farmers under the PVP law of Australia, Bangladesh, China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Some countries like Malaysia, Philippines and India have different types of farmers classified by the activities and the land holding size of the farmer.  For example; Indian farmers are divided into 3 categories which are small, medium and large according to the land holding size. The right of a farmer is followed the concept outlines in Article 9.3 of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in all countries that “Nothing in this article shall be interpreted to limit any rights that farmers have to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed/propagating material, subject to national law and as appropriate”. The exemption of breeders’rights refer to the article 15.2 of the 1991 Act of UPOV which specifies that the breeder’s right shall not extend to acts done privately and for non-commercial purposes. Thus, most countries suggested that the public views of these two concepts should not be viewed in opposition and the engagement from all stakeholders in the global organizations are required to help educating the public audiences especially the government and farmers to understand the breeders’rights and farmers’rights for the new developed varieties. The concept of farmer’s exemption is only applied to protected varieties and there is no limit on saving and selling progeny seeds from non-protected varieties or variety’s obtained by crossing a protected variety with landraces. APSA is aligning with the position of ISF on the Farmer’s rights and farmer’s exemption published in June 2018. The results from this study help APSA IPR and Biodiversity committee to collaborate with national seed associations on the educational program to enhancing the knowledge of these two concepts. The benefits of the outreach program or educational program and the policy advocacy program to the non-UPOV countries on these concept will eventually help to build an effective intellectual property protection and to promote the use or the adoption of the new developed varieties for the farmers.  

Mr. Harendra Singh
Managing Director
Rijk Zwaan India

Harendra Singh (Harry) is presently working as Managing Director at RijkZwaan India. Having more than 35 years’ experience of seed industry, he has worked in leading roles, such as Regional Head for South and South East Asia, Global head of Sales and Marketing in various organizations like Pioneer USA, Proagro Seeds India and Nunhems, Holland. He is also a visiting faculty to management institutions in India, Agriculture universities and also on advisory board of CABM Pant Nagar and Bikaner University. Recently have been nominated as President for SIPI

APAC is one of the largest value regions (if we talk vegetable seed business) for seed business, such as breeding, seed production and commercial trade. It’s estimated that APAC contributes > 40% in total Global vegetable seed market value. Almost all International and Regional seed companies are active in this region and most of them are focusing on innovative crop portfolio of hybrid seeds (i.e., more than 80%), therefore, a large investment on R&D. India, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh and few other countries are the key seed hubs as far as seed production and breeding are concerned and looking to a better environment for breeding and IP protection. Companies active in vegetable plant breeding have observed a large-scale illegal seed practices and infringement of their intellectual property rights by third parties. Huge financial losses are occurred due to the turnover losses from unauthorized propagation and trading of plant material and seed of protected varieties.  A group of Asian and international integrated vegetable seeds companies involved in research, breeding, seed production and marketing and distribution of seeds have taken the initiative for the creation of an effective and Alert bureau with the required expertise in the vegetable seed sector, widely recognized and respected by enforcement agencies and legal structure for its expertise level i.e., Seed Innovation and Protection Initiative (SIPI) called “The Bureau”. The primary focus of the bureau will be on the development of knowledge center to create awareness regarding prevention infringement within seed companies, to discourage potential perpetrators of infringement by publicity and to collect estimates of the scale of illegal propagation of protected varieties, counterfeiting (trademarks infringement) and non – regulatory (seed laws infringement) by undertaking periodic surveys. SIPI will work and coordinate closely together with APSA, national seed associations, Croplife Asia, the East Asia Plant Variety Protection Forum (EAPVP) and the UPOV Secretariat.