Applying for a Plant Variety Certificate of Protection

Application Sections

The application for a plant variety protection certificate (ST-470) includes:

  • General Applicant Information establishes the name of the owner, name of the representative, the variety name, and the date of first sale if one exists.
  • Exhibit A: Origin and Breeding History provides information about parentage, breeding methodology, and is used to determine if development is sufficient to consider the variety new. Also includes statements on the variety’s uniformity and stability.
  • Exhibit B: Statement of Distinctness contains the claims that support the difference of the new variety from all known varieties by stating specifically what characteristics are different from the most similar variety known to the applicant (based on side-by-side variety trials).
  • Exhibit C: Variety Descriptive Information provides specific observable qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the new variety to be compared against the most similar variety and other known comparison varieties.
  • Exhibit D: Optional Additional Information: this form is used to allow applicants to provide additional data tables, charts, photographs, and other information related to the new variety.
  • Exhibit E: Statement of the Basis of Ownership: this confirms the owner’s name, the variety name, and country where the owner is located. If the current owner is not the original owner or breeder, the transfer should be explained.

Electronic Plant Variety Protection System (ePVP)

The US Plant Variety Protection Application can be submitted online using the ePVP system or via PDF emailed directly to our office. The ePVP System is the best way to apply and can be accessed anywhere in the world. The ePVP system provides an easy way to:

  • upload multiple applications
  • check the status of your applications
  • file new/amend existing applications
  • pay fees
  • correspond with PVPO staff


To ensure system security, all users of the ePVP System must have electronic authentication through the USDA e-Authentication system:

Domestic Users must apply for and obtain a Level 2 Authentication to access the system.

International Users must apply for and obtain a Level 1 eAuthentication and send an e-mail to to request access to the system.

Provisional Protection

Serves as a means to protect a candidate variety from the date when the PVP application is filed until the date when the rights are granted. Under provisional protection:

  • the applicant is permitted to initiate legal action, once rights are granted
  • there are no restrictions on the sale of a variety
  • the applicant has the same rights as they would if the variety were granted rights
  • the applicant must notify, in writing, any person potentially infringing on their rights.
  • Addition of the phrase “Unauthorized Propagation Prohibited – U.S. Variety Protection Applied For” to the product label is suggested.

Provisional protection will be automatically granted; no request or additional fee is required for this interim protection.

Contact Information

USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service
Science and Technology Program
Plant Variety Protection Office
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Room 2915 South, Stop 0274
Washington DC 20250
Phone: (202) 260-8983