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Plant variety protection internationally

Plant Variety Protection (PVP) is referred to globally as ‘Plant Breeders Rights’ or ‘Plant Variety Rights’, with the exception of the United States which uses ‘PVP’ for seed propagated varieties and potato varieties and ‘Plant Patent’ for all other vegetatively propagated varieties such as fruit and flower crops.

Applications for protection are made state by state, with no possibility of multi-state protection with a single application. However there is an international system for PVP, which promotes and assists harmonisation of national law and practice.

International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV)

New Zealand has been a member of International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) since 1981, one of 74 member states using a common and effective system of plant variety protection. Member states follow the 1978 Convention or the current 1991 Convention, with the purpose to encourage breeders to develop new varieties of plants. UPOV provides information, comment and guidance on every aspect of plant variety protection and related matters.

New Zealand participates in the various UPOV Committees and Technical Working Parties, and works cooperatively with other member states and non-member states to promote and develop technical and administrative best practice within plant variety protection.

UPOV also has an online database called PLUTO (International Plant Variety Database) for searching international applications based on various criteria such as denomination or genus.

Protecting varieties in other states

New Zealand breeders wishing to obtain plant variety protection in another country must make application in that country. Membership of UPOV entitles NZ breeders to apply for plant variety protection in other member states under the same provisions as national plant breeders of those states. This access to much larger markets provides greater options for NZ breeders, and in turn encourages investment and development in national plant breeding.

Variety denominations

UPOV has developed internationally accepted guidelines that your proposed denomination for the new variety must conform to. If your denomination is not acceptable the Commissioner will reject it and ask for an acceptable alternative.

UPOV have developed recommendations for members on how to name your variety. See the Summary of UPOV recommendations for variety denominations.

Information on PVP in other states

The following links provide information on PVP in some other states: