The Technical Questionnaire
The technical questionnaire is required for every application for Plant Variety Rights and can be considered to be part of the application page. Each technical questionnaire is specific to the genus or the genus and species to which the variety under application belongs. There is no common technical questionnaire.
The document consists of specific sections covering:
- Botanical name, applicant name and denomination
- Breeding scheme and method of propagation
- Key morphological characters
- Similar varieties and differences from those varieties
- Additional information to assist the examination such as special growing requirements
Each section has its own importance and contributes to variety identification and a basic variety description.
The technical questionnaire provides the opportunity for the applicant to tell the examiner all about the variety. In most cases, this will be the first technical information for that variety received by the examiner. For this reason it is important that the technical questionnaire is completed fully and in sufficient detail.
Use in examination and testing
As stated in the previous paragraph, the technical questionnaire sets the examiner’s initial basic description of the variety and assists in identifying other varieties which may be similar. As part of the preliminary examination, the examiner carries out a classification system, known as grouping, using the morphological characters in the technical questionnaire to place the candidate variety in the appropriate group of varieties with the same or similar expression for those morphological characters. In addition to the list of technical questionnaire characters, the applicant has the opportunity to tell the examiner why the variety is considered distinct and what varieties the applicant thinks are similar, if any. Should an applicant consider the variety to be really unique then state; no similar varieties are known. A clear declaration from the applicant is more helpful than just leaving the similar variety section blank.
The technical questionnaire is used to check the details of the botanical name, the method of breeding, the method of propagation and any particular details provided regarding agronomy and cultivation. This information is utilised by the examiner to improve the organisation and quality of the growing trial and DUS evaluation.
Consequences of a poorly completed Technical Questionnaire
Minimal information from the applicant may lead to the examiner to make an incomplete preliminary assessment of the candidate variety. Poor quality or vague morphological information may result in a less robust grouping process, resulting in a large number of varieties appearing to be similar, in turn leading to a large, complex growing trial. The number of similar varieties deemed necessary, may have been able to be reduced if the technical questionnaire information was of higher quality and more complete. Poor or missing technical questionnaire information may also have led the examiner to be unable to identify a similar variety which should have been included in the growing trial and may result in the need for additional testing. A poorly completed technical questionnaire can prolong testing and increase the cost to the applicant.
The examiner uses the technical questionnaire information to check that the plants of the candidate variety present in the trial are of the variety and to provide a form of trueness to type assessment. At the conclusion of testing, the examiner compares the variety description drafted from the trial plants with the information stated in the technical questionnaire to ensure that the two are compatible. Both these processes help to determine that the intended candidate variety has been supplied by the applicant and is the subject of DUS testing.
Technical Questionnaire check list
Prior to uploading the technical questionnaire for an application, check the following:
- All sections have been read and then completed as fully as possible. It is recommended to state not known, not applicable, unknown or some other appropriate phrase rather than leaving a section empty.
- Do you have relevant information that has not been asked for, such as the expression of other morphological or physiological characters?
- Is the information provided consistent with that provided on the application page regarding denomination, botanical classification, applicant and breeder?