Skip to main content.

Manage Plant Variety Rights

This page covers the management of both granted Rights and applications for Plant Variety Rights.

It is the responsibility of the PVR applicant or PVR holder to protect and maintain their interest in any protected variety.

You can submit all requests online through the Maintain a PVR service in our case management facility, including renewing a PVR and adding information to the PVR application.

Renew a PVR

A grant only remains in force if you pay the annual grant fee, which is due on the anniversary date of the grant. You'll receive an online renewal notice one month before the anniversary date. You then have a one month after the anniversary date to make payment and renew your PVR before a 'Proposal to Cancel' letter is sent. Following the Proposal to Cancel you have 28 days to renew or surrender your PVR before the Right is cancelled.

Note: Watch out for unsolicited IP services asking you to pay a fee for their services. 

Renew a PVR online through our case management facility as follows:

If you are a registered IPONZ user:

  1. log in using your RealMe username and password
  2. in your User Inbox, select Plant Variety Right then Renew Plant Variety Right.

If you are a casual user and do not use the site frequently, you don't have to log on to renew your PVR. Go directly to Renew a PVR and enter your name and email address.

  1. Use the Search facility to find the PVR you wish to renew, and Select them from the search results.
  2. Review the selected cases and select Submit when you're happy. The payment details and options will display.
  3. If you're logged in and have set up a direct debit account you can choose the Direct Debit option for payment. Otherwise you'll need to pay by credit card or internet banking.
  4. Include/check your email address to receive an invoice confirming payment of the renewal fee.

Terms of a Plant Variety Right

Plant Variety Rights are granted for the following terms (beginning from the date when the Rights are granted):

  • 20 years in the case of non-woody plants, or
  • 23 years in the case of woody plants.

Change agent details

You can file a notice of the following changes online with the Commissioner. These changes are recorded against the clients' details level, not at the IP level:

  • address for service,
  • business or residential address,
  • communication address,
  • name on the PVR register.

Change agent

You can notify and provide an authorisation of agent for your professional representative (agent) to be assigned to, or changed, for a PVR. The agent/case contact is the equivalent of an address for service. Making a change in the agent field will also change the details for the application/designation contact.

You must provide supporting documentation confirming the agent is authorised to act, for example, a PVR Authorisation of Agent Form [148 KB PDF].

To change an agent

  1. Log on as a registered user of the website. Find out more about becoming a registered user.
  2. From the left-hand menu of your Inbox, select Plant Variety Right then Maintain a Plant Variety Right. The Plant Variety Right Change Request(s) page displays.
  3. Under the heading Change Agent / Case Contact, click Select case for Change Agent. The Search Plant Variety Right case(s) screen displays.
  4. Search for one or more Plant Variety Rights. Click alongside the desired Case Number(s) then click Select. The Request Change of Agent on PVR(s) screen displays with the case(s) listed.
  5. Enter your Client Reference.
  6. Select whether you are replacing the current agent or adding an agent. Note: If the new agent is not the same for each of the cases you will need to make a separate request for each case.
  7. To enter new agent details for the case(s), select Search in the Agents section to search for the agent's details in the Search IPONZ Client Database. Select the agent's name. You will be returned to the Request a Change of Agent on PVR(s) screen.
  8. Select Add in the Documentary Evidence section to upload your agent authorisation documentation.
  9. Select Submit to complete your request. The Plant Variety Right Change Request(s) screen displays and a confirmation Info box appears. Click OK to close the box.

What happens next?

We will accept your request, refuse your request, or request further information, within one working day. You will receive email notification.

Propose new denomination for PVR during application

You can propose a new denomination for your variety after you have made the initial application and before Rights are granted. Standard recommendations are followed as for a proposed denomination at application.

To propose a new denomination for a PVR during application:

  1. Log on as a registered user of the website. Find out more about becoming a registered user.
  2. From the left-hand menu of your Inbox, select Plant Variety Right then Maintain a Plant Variety Right. The Plant Variety Right Change Request(s) page displays.
  3. Under the heading Add Information to PVR Application, click Select case for Amendment. The Search Plant Variety Right case(s) screen displays.
  4. Search for the PVR that you wish to amend. Click alongside the desired Case Number then click Select. The Submit a voluntary Amendment for PVR [number] screen displays.
  5. In the Proposed Denomination field, add the proposed new denomination for your variety and select Submit. The Plant Variety Right Change Request(s) screen displays and a confirmation Info box appears. Click OK to close the box.

Add information to the PVR application

  1. Log on as a registered user of the website. Find out more about becoming a registered user.
  2. From the left-hand menu of your Inbox, select Plant Variety Right then Maintain a Plant Variety Right. The Plant Variety Right Change Request(s) page displays.
  3. Under the heading Add Information to PVR Application, click Select case for Amendment. The Search Plant Variety Right case(s) screen displays.
  4. Search for the PVR that you wish to amend. Click alongside the desired Case Number then click Select. The Submit a voluntary Amendment for PVR [number] screen displays.
  5. You can Add the following additional document(s) in the Document(s) field:
    • agent authority,
    • availability of plant material,
    • evidence of ownership,
    • germination certificate,
    • importation notice,
    • priority document,
    • PVR photo,
    • trial evaluation/notification.
  1. Once you have made your required changes, select Submit. The Plant Variety Right Change Request(s) screen displays and a confirmation Info box appears. Click OK to close the box.

Types of documents that can be added

Agent authority

The authorisation of agent document or other document that states a variety owner assigns authority to an agent for that variety.

Availability of plant material

Growing trial information that advises location and establishment of a requested growing trial.

Notification that plant material has been supplied to the required test site.

Information regarding the inability to supply requested varieties.

Notification that plant material of the variety has been released from quarantine.

Evidence of ownership

Documentary evidence to establish that the owner/applicant is the variety owner where the owner is the successor-in-title of the breeder or there has been a change of ownership.

Germination certificate

Certificate from a seed laboratory.

Importation notice

Notification that requested plant material required for testing has been imported.

Notification of any issues or delays to do with quarantine matters.

Priority document

Certified true copy of an application in the country/authority where priority may apply.

PVR photo

Photographs obtained from the growing or other trial.

Trial evaluation/notifications

Notification that plants in a growing trial are suitable for DUS evaluation or at a specific growth stage requested by the office.

Information regarding trial problems, e.g. poor growth, natural events, management errors.

Withdrawal of a variety under application

Withdrawal of a variety from application is voluntary and at the discretion of the variety owner. A variety that has been withdrawn may still be eligible for Plant Variety Rights if a new application is made for the same variety.

To withdraw an application

  1. Log on as a registered user of the website. Find out more about becoming a registered user.
  2. From the left-hand menu of your Inbox, select Plant Variety Right then Maintain a Plant Variety Right. The Plant Variety Right Change Request(s) page displays.
  3. Under the heading Withdrawal of Variety under Application, click Select case(s) for Withdrawal. The Withdraw PVR Application(s) screen displays.
  4. You can search for one or more PVR applications that you wish to withdraw. Tick the check box alongside the required case(s), then click Select.
  5. Tick Confirm withdrawal of PVR(s) then select Submit. The Plant Variety Right Change Request(s) screen displays and a confirmation Info box appears. Click OK to close the box.

Surrender of granted PVR

Surrender of a granted variety is voluntary and at the discretion of the variety owner.

The surrender of a variety should not be confused with cancellation of a variety. Surrender is done voluntarily by the variety owner, whereas a cancellation is an official action by the Plant Variety Rights Office (PVRO) in response to a breach of the PVR Act 1987.

To surrender a PVR:

  1. Log on as a registered user of the website. Find out more about becoming a registered user.
  2. From the left-hand menu of your Inbox, select Plant Variety Right then Maintain a Plant Variety Right. The Plant Variety Right Change Request(s) page displays.
  3. Under the heading Surrender of Granted Plant Variety Right click Select case for Surrender. The Surrender a PVR screen displays.
  4. You can search for one or more PVRs that you wish to surrender. Tick the check box alongside the correct case(s), then click Select.
  5. Tick Confirm surrender of PVR, then select Submit. The Plant Variety Right Change Request(s) screen displays and a confirmation Info box appears. Click OK to close the box.

Propose new denomination for a granted variety

A new denomination can be proposed after granting of a right. Standard recommendations are followed, as for a proposed denomination at application.

In addition to the standard recommendations, the Commissioner needs to be clear about the owner's intention for the proposed change, and requires the variety owner to provide a substantive reason for the change.

The PVRO makes the decision about whether to accept or decline the change.

To propose a new denomination for a granted plant variety right:

  1. Log on as a registered user of the website. Find out more about becoming a registered user.
  2. From the left-hand menu of your Inbox, select Plant Variety Right then Maintain a Plant Variety Right. The Plant Variety Right Change Request(s) page displays.
  3. Under the heading Propose New Denomination for Granted Plant Variety Right, click Select Case for Denomination Proposal. The Search Plant Variety Right case(s) screen displays.
  4. Search for one or more Plant Variety Right for which you wish to propose a new denomination.
  5. Enter your proposed new denomination in the Proposed Denomination field.
  6. Select Add to upload your justification document.
  7. Select Submit to complete your request. The Plant Variety Right Change Request(s) screen displays and a confirmation Info box appears. Click OK to close the box.

Change ownership

The new owner(s) must have a valid address for service in New Zealand, as this is a requirement under section 5 of the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987. If there are multiple owners, each owner must authorise the single address for service to receive correspondence from IPONZ.

You will also need to upload evidence supporting any change in ownership, such as the deed of assignment or a certified copy.

How to register a new owner

  1. Log on as a registered user of the website. Find out more about becoming a registered user.
  2. From the left-hand menu of your Inbox, select Plant Variety Right then Maintain a Plant Variety Right. The Plant Variety Right Change Request(s) page displays.
  3. Under the heading Change Owner, click Select case(s) for Assignment. The Search Plant Variety Right case(s) screen displays.
  4. Search for one or more Plant Variety Right(s) you wish to change the ownership of. Click alongside the desired Case Number(s) then click Select. The Record a Change of Ownership on PVR(s) displays.
  5. Enter your Client Reference.
  6. Select whether you are the new owner, or acting on behalf of the owner. If you are acting on behalf of the owner, you'll be listed as the agent, and you will need to upload an Authorisation of Agent form.
  7. To add the new owner for the assigned cases, select Search by the Applicant/Owner field. You will be taken to the Search IPONZ Client Database screen. Search to find, or manually add, the new owner(s). By default the search will be restricted to clients in our database that you have already acted for.
  8. Upload the Agent Authorisation by selecting Add next to the Agent Authority field.
  9. Add your documentary evidence to support your request.
  10. Select Submit. The Plant Variety Right Change Request(s) screen displays and a confirmation Info box appears. Click OK to close the box. 

 

UPOV recommendations for variety denominations

New Zealand has been a member of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) since 1981, one of 73 member states using a common and effective system of plant variety protection. Member states adhere to the 1978 Convention, or the current 1991 Convention, with the common purpose to encourage breeders to develop new varieties of plants.

New Zealand is an active participant 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 plant variety database called PLUTO, which can be for searching international applications based on various criteria such as UPOV code.

Any denomination you propose for a new variety must conform to internationally accepted guidelines. If the denomination you propose is not acceptable the Commissioner will reject it and ask for an acceptable alternative.

UPOV have developed recommendations for members regarding variety denominations. These are summarised below.

Summary of UPOV recommendations for variety denominations

Recommendation 1

The variety shall be designated by a denomination which is generic. The use of the denomination cannot be restricted by any other designation, such as a trademark, even after the Right for the variety has expired.

Recommendation 2

  1. The denomination must enable the variety to be clearly identified and may not consist solely of figures unless that is the established practice for that genus or type of variety e.g. parent lines, inbred lines, hybrids.
  2. The denomination must not be liable to mislead and should not convey the impression that the variety:
    • has particular characteristics which in fact it does not
    • possesses a character, when other varieties also have or may have the same character
    • is derived from another variety when it is not
    • is bred by a particular breeder when that is not the case.
  1. The denomination must not cause confusion concerning the value or identity of the variety by the use of some superlatives, simple descriptive phrases and the use of a denomination which is very similar to another existing denomination. A difference of a single letter or number between two denominations may be considered to cause confusion and poorly identify the variety.
  2. The denomination must be different from any existing variety of the same genus or species or a closely related species. The re-use of a denomination is generally to be avoided, although this may be acceptable if it relates to a variety that no longer exists.

Recommendation 3

The denomination of the variety shall be proposed by the breeder to the Plant Variety Rights Office. It is not the role of the Plant Variety Rights Office to propose a variety denomination. Should the denomination be rejected, the breeder is required to propose another denomination. The denomination shall only be approved by the Plant Variety Rights Office at the time of grant of the Right.

Recommendation 4

The prior rights of third persons shall not be affected by the use of the proposed denomination. A denomination cannot be accepted if another right, already granted to a third party under any intellectual property legislation, is already in use.

Recommendation 5

A variety must be submitted to all UPOV member states under the same denomination. The Plant Variety Rights Office will accept denominations submitted in other states unless the denomination is unsuitable for New Zealand. This recommendation reflects the importance of a single variety denomination for each variety worldwide.

Recommendation 6

The Plant Variety Rights Office will publish all proposed variety denominations in the Plant Variety Rights Journal and ensure that all UPOV member states are kept informed of matters concerning variety denominations in New Zealand.

Recommendation 7

There is an obligation and a requirement under the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 for any person who offers for sale or markets propagating material for a variety within New Zealand to use the denomination of that variety, even after the Right for that variety has expired.

Recommendation 8

When a variety is offered for sale or marketed it is acceptable to associate a trademark, trade name or other indication with the variety denomination. The denomination must be easily recognisable and placed between single quotation marks.

Variety denomination classes

A variety denomination cannot be used more than once in the same class. In most cases a denomination class is equal to a genus, with the following exceptions forming special classes.

  • Class 1.1 Brassica oleracea
  • Class 1.2 Brassica other than Brassica oleracea
  • Class 2.1 Beta vulgaris L. var. alba DC., Beta vulgaris L. var. altissima
  • Class 2.2 Beta vulgaris ssp. vulgaris var. conditiva Alef. (syn.: B. vulgaris L. var. rubra L.), B. vulgaris L. var. cicla L., B. vulgaris L. ssp. vulgaris var. vulgaris
  • Class 2.3 Beta other than classes 2.1 and 2.2.
  • Class 3.1 Cucumis sativus
  • Class 3.2 Cucumis melo
  • Class 3.3 Cucumis other than classes 3.1 and 3.2
  • Class 4.1 Solanum tuberosum L.
  • Class 4.2 Tomato and Tomato rootstocks Solanum lycopersicum L. plus related species and hybrids
  • Class 4.3 Solanum melongena L.
  • Class 4.4 Solanum other than class 4.1, 4.2, 4.3
  • Class 201 Secale, Triticale, Triticum
  • Class 202 Panicum, Setaria, Megathyrsus, Steinchisma
  • Class 203 Agrostis, Dactylis, Festuca, Festulolium, Lolium, Phalaris,
    Phleum and Poa
  • Class 204 Lotus, Medicago, Ornithopus, Onobrychis, Trifolium
  • Class 205 Cichorium, Lactuca
  • Class 206 Petunia and Calibrachoa
  • Class 207 Chrysanthemum and Ajania
  • Class 208 (Statice) Goniolimon, Limonium, Psylliostachys
  • Class 209 (Waxflower) Chamelaucium, Verticordia
  • Class 210 Jamesbrittania and Sutera
  • Class 211 Edible Mushrooms
  • Agaricus bisporus, Agaricus blazei,
  • Agrocybe cylindracea,
  • Auricularia auricura, Auricularia polytricha (Mont.) Sscc.,
  • Dictyophora indusiata (Ventenat:Persoon) Fischer
  • Flammulina velutipes, Ganoderma lucidum (Leyss:Fries) Karsten
  • Grifola frondosa
  • Hericium erinaceum,
  • Hypsizigus marmoreus, Hypsizigus ulmarius,
  • Lentinula edodes
  • Lepista nuda (Bulliard:Fries) Cooke, Lepista sordida (Schumacher:Fries) Singer,
  • Lyophyllum decastes, Lyophyllum shimeji (Kawamura) Hongo,
  • Meripilus giganteus (Persoon:Fries) Karten
  • Mycoleptodonoides aitchisonii (Berkeley) Maas Geesteranus
  • Naematoloma sublateritium
  • Panellus serotinus
  • Pholiota adipose, Pholiota nameko
  • Pleurotus cornucopiae var.citrinooileatus, Pleurotus cystidiosus, Pleurotus
  • cystidiosus subsp. Abalonus, Pleurotus eryngii, Pleurotus ostreatus, Pleurotus
  • pulmonarius
  • Polyporus tuberaster (Jacquin ex Persoon) Fries
  • Sparassis crispa (Wulfen) Fries
  • Tricholoma giganteum Massee
  • Class 212 Verbena L. and Glandularia J.F.Gmel.