Plant breeders' rights (PBR)
PBR is designed to give a financial return to the breeder. Without this, breeding can only be carried out if subsidized by the public sector.
Particularly for pure line varieties of self-pollinators and vegetatively propagated species, it is very easy for the farmer to keep a sample of seed, tubers etc. for planting the next year's crop (or even for sale to other farmers). PBR allows the breeder to collect a royalty from the sale of a crop composed of his variety.
PBR is only granted to a variety that can be distinguished from others, is stable over time, is uniform and is superior in some way (e.g., yields more highly, or has better end-use quality) to other varieties currently marketed.
For more information about Intellectual Property see the GCP Intellectual Property Helpdesk, http://www.generationcp.org/ip_home