Plant breeding technology has developed rapidly over the last two decades with the introduction of advanced tissue culture, biochemical and molecular techniques, including marker assisted breeding, protoplast fusion, embryo rescue, mutagenesis and improved DNA sequencing and computing. The technology has greatly reduced the time required to develop new plant varieties and improved the accuracy of crosses to produce desired morphological, physiological or genetic traits such as appearance, yield, and disease resistance. Some of the exciting advances that are currently being made in plant breeding are in the areas of crops with increased yield or improved nutritional characteristics, abiotic stress tolerance (drought, salt, cold), improved nitrogen utilisation and improved plant-based fibre and wood qualities.

Plant biotechnology has the potential to provide significant advances in a multitude of areas. Using molecular biology techniques, scientists are now able to engineer plants to express specific genes in a very precise and controlled manner. In addition, recombinant plants comprising genetic combinations that were previously not possible have become available. 

Our attorneys have specific expertise in protecting plant based inventions and innovations in the following areas: 

  • Preparing and prosecuting Plant Breeder's Rights applications in Australia and overseas including advising on conducting comparative plant trials during the examination stage (in the capacity of an IP Australia Accredited Qualified Person)
  • Preparing and prosecuting patent applications in Australia and overseas for plant-based inventions which require essential human intervention in the production of the plant variety
  • Marker-assisted breeding 
  • Biological trait selection, including pest and plant disease resistance, abiotic stress resistance and macromolecule (starch, sugar and oil) modification 
  • Plant tissue culture including preparation of cytoplasmic hybrids 
  • Genetic lineage tracing 
  • Transgenic plants, including both nuclear and chloroplast transgenics, herbicide tolerant plants, pesticidal plants, functional foods, altered flower colour and delayed senescence 
  • Male sterility and hybrid seed production 
  • Plant-based production of industrial chemicals, antibodies and vaccines 
  • Plant based biofuel production 
  • New herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers, including biological agents 
  • Soil microbiology including the production of enhanced rhizosphere microorganisms.