New Plant Variety Rights law finally comes into being in NZ

IN MID-NOVEMBER the government passed a new law covering the granting and administration of Plant Variety Rights in New Zealand.

Plant Variety Rights give plant breeders exclusive rights to propagate and sell new varieties they have developed. The legislation has been in the making for more than 30 years and was to have been passed a year ago but was delayed by amendments put forward by Opposition Parties in Parliament and some court action.

NZ’s Comm Horticulture magazine sought reaction to the eventual passing of the legislation from Chris Barnaby of the PVR Rights Office but he declined, saying press releases would be circulated in the New Year when the new Act is set to come into effect, probably late January.

Comm Hort can report, however, that the Act is pretty much unchanged from the Bill that led to it and whose final form had been established last year. There have been only minor textural changes. None of the Opposition’s suggested amendments were successful, being over-ruled by a Party vote in Parliament where the Government has a majority. Chris Barnaby did make a presentation to the IPPS Conference in Hamilton last year in which he outlined the major components of the new legislation, and this was reported in Comm Hort’s August/September 2021 issue. To view this report, see the Comm Hort website where there is a link on the right of the home page.

To view the Act as passed, see The Plant Variety Rights Act 2022, replaces the existing Plant Variety Rights Act which was enacted in 1987 to bring New Zealand’s then PVR regime into line with the 1978 version of the International Convention on the Protection of New Varieties of Plants – the UPOV Convention. This Convention is the principal international agreement relating to intellectual property protection over plant varieties. It was, however, updated in 1991 and NZ has been under pressure for some time to bring its legislation into line with UPOV 91.

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