7 CFR 97.201 - Protest proceedings.
(a) Opposition shall be made by submitting in writing a petition for protest proceedings, which petition shall be supported by affidavits and shall show the reason or reasons for opposing the application or certificate. The petition and accompanying papers shall be filed in duplicate. If it appears to an examiner that a variety involved in a pending application or covered by a certificate may not be or may not have been entitled to protection under the Act, a protest proceeding may be permitted by the Commissioner.
(b) One copy of the petition and accompanying papers shall be served by the Office upon the applicant or owner, or his or her attorney or agent of record.
(c) An answer, by the applicant or owner of the certificate, or his or her assignee, in response to the petition, may be filed with the Commissioner within 60 days after service of the petition, upon such person. If no answer is filed within said period, the Commissioner shall decide the matter on the basis of the allegations set forth in the petition.
(d) If the petition and answer raise any issue of fact needing proof, the Commissioner shall afford each of the parties a period of 60 days in which to file sworn statements or affidavits in support of their respective positions.
(e) As soon as practicable after the petition or the petition and answer are filed, or after the expiration of any period for filing sworn statements or affidavits, the Commissioner shall issue a decision as to whether the protests are upheld or denied. The Commissioner may, following the protest proceeding, cancel any certificate issued and may grant another certificate for the same variety to a person who proves to the satisfaction of the Commissioner, that he or she is the breeder or discoverer. The decision shall be served upon the parties in the manner provided in § 97.403.