WHO: Sicasov is a cooperative of breeders who create plant varieties. The co-op’s main mission is to manage the intellectual property rights entrusted to it. Sicasov is mandated to:
• Grant licences to collect royalties
• Protect and defend rights holders
• Ensure compliance with contracts and monitor licensee declarations
• Provide legal monitoring and advice to its users
• Raise awareness of research, varietal improvement, and intellectual property issues
WHAT: In France — just as in Canada — the creation of a cereal variety is a long and costly process. A return on investment is essential to ensure the sustainability of research. For this purpose, Sicasov protects breeders’ rights through license agreements, which generate a remuneration in the form of royalties. The system applies to both farmers who use certified seed and those who divert grain to use as seed (commonly referred to as farm-saved seed).
WHERE: Sicasov services are available to French and foreign breeders in all territories where their varieties are protected. Sicasov manages most protected plant varieties — field crops, horticultural, fruit, forest, vegetable and floral species.
The system is split into two royalty/revenue streams:
• Certified seed royalty: A royalty of 80 Euros per tonne is applied to the purchase of certified seed.
• Farm-saved seed royalty: Farmers who do not use certified seed pay a royalty of 90 cents per tonne of grain delivered to the elevator. To ensure farmers do not pay twice when they use certified seeds, 5 Euros per ton of seeds is sent back to them at the end of the day (this ensures there is no “double-dipping”).
WHY: The French seed levy system (as applies to certified seed) was created 50 years ago to ensure breeders received a return on their investments. The farm-saved seed levy is a newer creation (about 15 years old) implemented due to a decrease in certified seed use. As long as certified seed use in France remains relatively high (it currently sits at around 50% to 60%) the system works well and is viable. Cereal farmers understood from a very early stage their own interest in the system and its benefits, according to Sicasov director-general Eric Devron.