Guatemalan Congress repeals the “Law for the Protection of New Plant Varieties”
On June 26, 2014, Decree 19-2014 known as the Law for the Protection of New Plant Varieties was published in the Central American Bulletin. Section 55 of this law established that it would be in force after 90 days of its publication, that is, on September 26, 2014.
The new law’s enactment was brought in as part of the process of complying with the 2005 CAFTA-DR Free Trade Agreement between Central American nations, the Dominican Republic and the US. According to this agreement, signatories are obliged to sign up to the International Convention for the Protection of New Plant Varieties (UPOV).
After the publication of the law, aimed at protecting the IP rights of plant breeders on new plant varieties or genetically modified existing ones, led to an outburst of criticism from various sectors of the Guatemalan population.
As a result, on August 29, 2014, the Guatemalan Constitutional Court suspended the law after a writ of amparo was filed by the Guatemalan Union, Indigenous and Peasant Movement, which argued that the law would harm the nation. The Court’s decision established that section 55 of the law was suspended.
More recently, on September 4, 2014, the Guatemalan Congress signed Decree 21-2014, by means of which, Decree 19-2014 “Law for the Protection of New Plant Varieties” was repealed.