< August 2019 newsletter


Have your say: the PVR regime is undergoing a review, proposing a new decision-making process

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is undertaking a review of the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987. The second stage of consultation is now open. Public feedback on proposed options is currently being sought. Make sure you submit your feedback by 9 September 2019.

Plant Variety Rights (PVR) are rights granted to the breeder of a new variety of plant that give the breeder exclusive control over the propagating material (including seed, cuttings, divisions, tissue culture) and harvested material (cut flowers, fruit, foliage) of a new variety for a number of years. Every year more than 100 new varieties of plants are registered with the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office.

The Government is seeking to insert a Treaty clause in the Act, and proposes a new decision-making process that empowers the Commissioner of Plant Variety Rights, jointly with the Chair of the Māori advisory committee, to decide whether, on the basis of the Māori advisory committee’s advice, the PVR should be granted.

The ‘Meeting obligations relating to the Treaty of Waitangi’ options paper includes the following statements:

“The Options Paper presents a package of proposals, the main purpose of which is to encourage early and meaningful engagement between plant breeders and kaitiaki, where applicable”.

“Specifically, the proposals address:

  • Disclosure requirements: the information on kaitiaki relationships that must be provided by plant breeders when they apply for a Plant Variety Right (PVR);
  • Decision-making: how decisions are made in relation to kaitiaki relationship information provided in a PVR application;
  • Decision-makers: who is involved in considering kaitiaki relationships in the PVR grant decision-making process, and how.”

“Our conclusion is that providing genuine, mana-enhancing consideration of kaitiaki interests necessary for Treaty compliance requires decision-makers to have the power to decline to grant a PVR if it would adversely affect kaitiaki interests and mitigation of these impacts was not possible”.

For further information see:

The Ministry is holding a two-day hui at their offices in Wellington on 5 and 6 August to discuss the Options Paper. The first day focusses entirely on Treaty of Waitangi compliance, and the Tuesday session on the policy issues associated with aligning our regime with UPOV 91. (UPOV is the acronym for the ‘International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants’).

Submissions close at 5pm on Monday, 9 September 2019. Please click HERE for how to make a submission. If you have any questions about the submissions process, please direct them to PVRActReview@mbie.govt.nz

For more information on the PVR regime, see the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office website ‘Plant Variety Rights’

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Time is running out to submit on the Plant Variety Rights Act

MBIE plans to share its decision-making power The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is currently undergoing a review of the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987. This Act is New Zealand’s plant variety rights law, which regulates intellectual property protection over new plant varieties.   Continue reading