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Korea Seed and Variety Service to hold international symposium

The Korea Seed and Variety Service (director Oh Byeong-seok) announced that the organization will hold an international symposium in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the protection of varieties, for the purpose of assessing the 20-year performance of the new plant variety protection system, as well as devising a future strategy for the operation of the system at Songdo Convensia, Incheon. The symposium is scheduled for two days, from October 12 (Thu) and 13 (Fri).

The symposium is to be co-hosted by the Korea Seed and Variety Service and the Korean Society for Horticultural Science (chairman Yim Yong-pyo), and will be held under the theme of “20-Year History of, and Future Strategy for, Protection of Korean Varieties.” The organizers are expecting about 800 attendees from Korean and foreign academic societies, variety-related companies and associations.

In particular, invitation letters were sent to 64 agricultural high schools and 66 agricultural colleges nationwide, in line with the government’s policy to create agricultural product jobs for youths, and leading more graduates of such schools to progress to full-time farmers. The Korean Society for Horticultural Science, with over 2,000 members, including young breeders and horticultural experts, asked its members to take part in the symposium. Therefore, about 300 members are expected to participate in the symposium, ensuring its great potential to create jobs for young people in the seed industry, too.

The symposium will be attended by prominent speakers from eight countries including Korea and major UPOV member countries. They will make oral presentations on the registration of variety protection by continents such as Europe, and they will also explain registration procedure.

On the first day (Oct.12), Dr. Peter Button, Vice Secretary-General of UPOV will deliver a special lecture on international treaties for variety protection systems, and international trends in variety protection. Moreover, Cho Il-ho, director of the Variety Protection Division at the Korea Seed and Variety Service will deliver a lecture on the theme of 20 years of variety protection in Korea.

In addition, by inviting officials from emerging countries as major export countries for seeds such as India, China and Vietnam, and allowing them to make a presentation on the protection of varieties and market trends in their countries, the symposium is expected to serve as a good opportunity for Korean variety companies to get their hands on the information required to devise a strategy to tap into these countries.

On the second day (Oct. 13), Korean and foreign experts will make presentations on the resolution of infringement disputes, comparisons of variety protection methods, as well as plant patents, and their utilization in strengthening seed breeders’ intellectual property rights in the plant sector.

To top it off, participants will discuss the effects of the Nagoya Protocol on the Korean seed industry as the protocol on access and benefit sharing (ABS) officially went into effect on August 17, 2017.

The organizer will also set up public relations booths* to introduce the promotion of a new plant variety protection system, and registration of domestic agriculture, forests, and fisheries varieties. The booths will also detail the procedure of the Netherlands’ varieties protection application, and its registration as a consultant for guidance on the procedure of variety protection applications and registrations.

The Korea Seed and Variety Service, National Forest Seed Variety Center, the Aquatic Plant Seed and Variety Management Center, Naktuinbouw (the Netherlands Inspection Service for Horticulture)

“Korea joined the UPOV a little late as the 50th member country (Jan. '02) but has stood shoulder to shoulder with developed countries, ranking 7th with applications for 9,593 varieties and registrations of 6,931 varieties as of June 2017,” said Oh Byeong-seok, director of the Korea Seed and Variety Service.

Director Oh said that he expected the symposium to discuss the operational performances of the Korean variety protection system, as well as measures for future management to open up new horizons for the sustainable development of the seed industry.

In addition, Oh anticipated that the symposium will significantly contribute to the expansion of Korea’s seed exports by publicizing the performances of Korea’s breed conservation system that has developed rapidly into developed countries and promising export markets, thereby giving trust to officials from promising export markets such as China, Vietnam and India.

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