Registration of Fruit Varieties in the French Catalogue

Registration of Fruit Varieties in the French Catalogue

Before a new variety can be placed on the market in Europe, it must undergo DUS testing for registration in the Official French Catalogue of species and varieties, also known as the National Listing, or for protection. The registration of a variety is decided by the Ministry of Agriculture based on proposals from the French Technical Committee for Plant Breeding (CTPS). These proposals are obtained on the basis of studies carried out by GEVES for the CTPS.

EU marketing requirements

As of 1 January 2017, marketing of fruit plant propagating material is regulated by Directive 2008/90/UE with Implementing Directives 2014/96/UE, 2014/97/UE and 2014/98/UE. This new regulation aims to harmonise quality standards for propagating material across the EU, in particular by requesting the registration of suppliers and varieties. It also covers labelling requirements and inspection of material.

Marketed material must be qualified as Conformitas Agraria Comunitatis (CAC) or certified. This applies to the majority of fruit species commonly marketed in France (except kiwis), including strawberries.

There are different options for registering varieties of fruit species in Europe and France:

  • Plant Variety Right: new varieties can be protected by a plant variety right (PVR), granted by INOV for protection in France, and by the CPVO for protection throughout the EU. PVRs can be obtained after carrying out a DHS examination and declaring the novelty of the variety. It allows the holder to market the variety throughout the EU, and to produce certified plants.
  • Registration in the Official Catalogue of an EU member state: in France, this registration is managed by the CTPS. GEVES is responsible for processing the applications and carrying out the technical examinations. Registration in the Official Catalogue allows the variety to be marketed throughout the EU, and – for some varieties – to produce certified plants.
  • Entry on the French list: this list provides a record of marketable varieties in France at CAC grade, with their descriptions and denominations.

All varieties authorized to be marketed in the European Union are listed in the FRUMATIS database.

The Official French Catalogue

The registration of varieties in the French Catalogue is decided by the Ministry of Agriculture based on proposals from the French Technical Committee for Plant Breeding (CTPS). These proposals are in turn based on studies carried out by GEVES for the CTPS.

For fruit varieties, the French Catalogue contains two lists, defined by the type of description available for the varieties, and the date they were first marketed. Varieties remain registered for a duration of 30 years.

  • Registration of a variety on List 1: if a variety has successfully passed the DUS examination and an official description has been issued, it can be registered on List 1. It must also have an approved denomination. Registered varieties are eligible for marketing throughout the EU, and can produce certified plant material. The DHS examination is conducted under the conditions set out in the technical regulations for varieties of fruit species (except strawberries). Application documents and guides are available here. For details on the strawberry technical examination, please see the Vegetable species section.
  • Registration of a variety on List 2: this list is reserved for varieties that have been marketed in the EU for the first time before 30 September 2012. Varieties on this list are eligible for marketing throughout the EU and, with the approval of the authorized body, for producing certified plant material. This procedure does not include a technical examination. Registration is granted based on an application for an Officially Recognized Description, including for strawberries. Application documents and guides will soon be available. 

The French List

To be included in this list, the applicant must provide an application with information on the denomination and description of the variety. Following the administrative validation of this application, the variety is accepted on this list. The list is managed by GEVES; it is not validated by the CTPS, and no publication is made in the Official Journal. It is a working tool for organizations in charge of inspecting CAC production material, including strawberries.

The documents and guides for entering a variety in this list will soon be available.

Distinction, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) examination

DUS tests are carried out to ensure that a new variety is Distinct from existing varieties, that its characteristics are Uniform, and that the variety is Stable with consistent phenotypic characteristics from one generation to the next.

DUS tests are carried out in accordance with harmonized EU protocols, based on plant material provided by the applicant. A variety description is produced, which is used to identify the variety. This description and plant material can later provide the basis for seed certification and plant variety protection applications.

DUS tests are harmonized at European and international levels, through the CPVO and UPOV respectively. They are conducted in accordance with the CPVO protocol in force. The characteristics studied and the standards of acceptation are specific to the species in question, taking into consideration their genetic structure (pure, hybrid or population lineage) and the method of reproduction (self-pollinated, cross-pollinated).

The DUS test generates a description of the variety, detailing its relevant characteristics. For fruit crops, morphological features and colour are mostly used (leaf shape, fruit colour, etc.) as well as phenological features such as flowering and ripening phases.

For fruit species (except Lonicera), technical examinations are carried out by INRAE and its teams at Avignon, Bordeaux and Angers. GEVES is responsible for supervising this system, which is entrusted by the Community Plant Variety Office for apples, pears and their rootstocks, apricots, peaches, Japanese plums, and cherries and their rootstocks. To assess the distinctness of candidate varieties compared to well-known varieties, INRAE has extensive collections of well-known reference varieties.