Seedvise Pty Ltd, an End Point Royalty Agent, has lodged an application for authorisation on behalf of Australian Agricultural Crop Technologies, Australian Grain Technologies Pty Ltd, InterGrain, SeedNet, Nuseed, NPZ Australia Pty Ltd, COGGO Seeds, Grainsearch, Pacific Seeds and Heritage Seeds (collectively, the Royalty Managers).
The Plant Breeders Rights Act 1994 (Cth) allows owners of plant varieties to collect a royalty from growers who use their seed or propogation material. This is most commonly achieved through an "End Point Royalty" which is calculated as a rate per tonne of harvested tonne of grain (as compared to a royalty on the initial purchase of seed or propogation material). The Royalty Managers manage the intellectual property rights of various seed varities (either as an owner or on behalf of the owner). Rather than collecting the End Point Royalty from each individual grower, some Royalty Managers enter into agreements with buyers of grain who collect this royalty on their behalf, in exchange for an End Point Royalty collection fee.
The Royalty Managers wish to enter contracts or make arrangements or understandings with each other regarding the terms and conditions (including the amount of the End Point Royalty collection fee) of the royalty collection agreements that they will enter into with grain buyers. In this instance, the Royalty Managers have entered into an arrangement with Seedvise Pty Ltd, who will enter into these agreements with grain buyers on their behalf.
These arrangements would mean that the fee that grain buyers could receive for collecting End Point Royalties for all varieties manged by the Royalty Managers would be fixed at the same rate. Grain buyers may choose to not to collect any royalties on behalf of Royalty Mangers and the rate of the End Point Royalty paid by the individual growers would continue to be set independently by each owner of the plant variety.
Authorisation has been sought for ten years.
On 11 June 2014, the ACCC issued a final determination granting authorisation to Seedvise until 3 July 2019.
A copy of the ACCC's decision regarding interim authorisation and the final determination are available from the ACCC decisions link below.