Plant Variety Rights. Protecting new plant varieties.
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How to apply for a plant variety right

Who can apply?

Only the owner of a new variety is entitled to a grant of Rights. The owner is the breeder or discoverer and developer of the variety, the owner’s employer (for example, a company), or a subsequent legal rights holder, known as a “successor-in-title”. An application can also be made by an agent on behalf of the owner. An authorised agent may be licensed to manage the variety and act for the owner but an authorised agent is not the “successor-in-title” and must not state themselves as such at application.

Any person or business from anywhere in the world can submit an application, but all applications must be in English and indicate an address-for-service in New Zealand. New Zealand breeders (individuals or organisations) normally prefer to deal directly with IPONZ/the PVR Office. Overseas breeders generally arrange for their New Zealand agent to attend to the details of application.

Experience shows it is best for all concerned if the appointed agent has first-hand knowledge of the new variety. Often the obvious and appropriate agent for the PVR application is the individual or organisation in New Zealand primarily responsible for handling plant material of the new variety (for example, importing, evaluating, bulking-up, and distribution). For example, the agent for an overseas crop variety could be a local seed company or the agent for a fruit or ornamental variety could be a local nursery.

a) Application made through agent

The agent must provide the Commissioner with evidence of the necessary authority to act for the variety owner or where there is more than one owner, the authority to act for each individual owner. 

PVR Authorisation of Agent Form [533 kB PDF]

b) Application made by successor-in-title

If you claim to be the successor-in-title of the breeder, you must supply documentary evidence to the Commissioner sufficient to establish your legal rights to ownership of the variety. Documentation should provide clear evidence that the ownership of the variety has been purchased by or transferred to the successor in title.


How do I apply?

You can apply for Plant Variety Rights online by submitting the following as part of the online application form:

  • A completed technical questionnaire applicable to the particular genus or species.
  • In the case of every application for a fruit, ornamental, tree or vegetable variety you should supply a photograph or image as specified.
    Supply a colour photograph representative of the variety and displaying as well as possible its chief distinguishing feature(s). The photograph may be of the whole plant of the new variety and/or of plant parts such as the fruit or the flowers, whichever is most appropriate. Do not supply an image or photograph of the original bred or discovered plant, or in the case of a new mutation or sport the plant part from which the variety originated. Instead you should supply the photograph based upon plants or trees propagated from the original plant or plant part
  • A seed sample for an arable crop, pasture plant, amenity grass or vegetable variety. See more information about the specific types of seed that must accompany an application.
  • Payment of the relevant fee.


Online application

Getting started

Once you have logged in you will be taken to your User Inbox. Under the Plant Variety Right section select Apply for Plant Variety Right.

Note | You are able to save your incomplete application at any stage by selecting Save on the bottom right corner of the page. To retrieve a saved application choose Apply for and in the section Your saved Plant Variety Rights requests you will be able to Select and complete your previously saved application.

Saved applications that have not been completed will be kept for a 90 days, after which they will be deleted automatically from the system.

Ensure you fill in all required Fields (marked with a red dot). If you need help, select and hold the cursor over the chosen field box and a help dialogue box will appear.


On the application form you will see:

Reference: Enter your personnel reference for the application. You should use a different reference for each application. You will be prompted if you enter a previously used reference by mistake. This reference is for your use and will have no official status.

Agent, Applicant, Application/Designation Contact: Tell us who you are. If you are the applicant (the owner), select that you are acting ‘in my own right’. If you are acting ‘As an agent’ then selecting this option will cause your details to populate the agent details and the Applicant/Designation Contact. It should be noted that the agent and the Applicant/Designation case Contact are one and the same.

PVR Information: Enter the details of your application here.

Plant Botanical name: Use the dropdown list to select the genus or genus and species to which your variety belongs to. The system will automatically pre-populate the UPOV code on the application form. The UPOV code is used to manage botanical synonyms within the UPOV plant variety database. If the variety you wish to apply for belongs to a genus or species absent from the drop down list, please contact us.

Proposed denomination: Enter your proposed denomination.

The denomination is the legal identifier for the variety and is the designation or variety name under which the grant of PVR will be made. Where application is made in more than one country the same denomination must be used. Applicants may defer proposing a denomination until after application but if so must give a breeder’s reference or some sort of temporary designation.

Breeder’s reference: Enter a breeder’s reference, which the breeder uses to identify the variety. Use of a breeder’s reference is voluntary however you need to supply a breeder’s reference if a variety denomination has not been proposed at the time of application.

Commercial synonyms: A trade or marketing name under which the variety is commercially or commonly known. The synonym will be recorded in the register under the application, unless the name is a registered trade mark.

Protection: If applications have been made in other countries you can provide further details by selecting Add.

Indicate all prior applications for protection (i.e. plant variety rights, plant variety protection certificate, plant patent) without exception, including those filed in countries which are not members of UPOV. For each application, the country(state), the application name, the stage (i.e. application proceeding, PBR granted) and the denomination or breeder’s reference is required.

Technical Examination: You can provide information about any variety testing in progress or completed by selecting country using the dropdown list and date for the Technical Examination already completed field and the Technical Examination already in progress field.

Sold or offered for sale: If the variety has been sold or offered for sale in New Zealand or abroad, you can provide further information by selecting Add. For the first sale in New Zealand provide the date and denomination or breeders reference used and for the first sale abroad provide the country (state), the date and denomination or breeders reference used. 

Use of Variety: Specify the use category for the variety. This information determines certain application requirements and fees.
For example:

Breeders details: If the applicant is not the breeder, you must find the breeders details by selecting search in the breeder section. The applicant (if present) should be removed from this section. The next step is to select how the variety was transferred to the applicant. You will then need to supply evidence of ownership of the variety or an explanation that outlines how ownership of the variety was acquired.

The Variety was transferred to the applicant(s) by: Select the appropriate process for the applicant(s).

Priority: Priority may be claimed in respect of an earlier application for plant variety protection in another UPOV member State. If there has been more than one such application, priority may be claimed only in respect of the first. A further proviso is that this overseas application should have been no earlier than one year before the date of the application in New Zealand. If you do claim priority, you must supply to the PVR Office, within 3 months of the application date in NZ, a copy of the documents constituting the first application which can be uploaded at application or supplied within the three months permitted.

You will need to enter the details of the overseas application. Select Add and enter the overseas application number, priority date and country where the application was first made.

Submitting your online application

  1. When you have completed the application form click Submit.
    (Note: If there is an error or omission in the form a message will display in red at the top of the screen).
  2. Check your application thoroughly and make any final changes before submitting it. If you would like to save your application without submitting it press Save. You can generate a printout of your application, by clicking Generate PDF summary.
    Select Submit when you wish to proceed to payment. Your fee description will be displayed at the bottom of the main application page and on the payment page.
  3. Payment: If you have a direct debit facility loaded to your IPONZ user account you can choose the Direct Debit option for payment. Otherwise select Credit Card or Internet Banking and complete the payment process. Once your application has been submitted you will receive a notification to the e-mail address that was listed in the contact details. A confirmation and summary of the submission of the design application will then appear in the discussion section of your IPONZ inbox.
  4. Provisional protection of the variety begins at the date of application. The date of submission has no legal status and the application has not been made until the application has been accepted and an acceptance or validation letter has been received containing the application date and application number.


What happens next?

Review The PVR process section for more information on the application process.



Last updated 27 November 2014