Plant Variety Rights

Plant variety rights

A grant of Plant Variety Rights for a new plant variety provides the exclusive right to exploit propagating material of the variety.

  • Protects your specific plant variety
  • Costs a minimum of $1,395, excluding GST
  • Usually takes 1 to 5 years to acquire
  • Can last 20 to 25 years

Getting started

Getting started

Plant Variety Rights (PVRs) are presently available for varieties of any kind of plant other than bacteria. The word "variety" is used not in the sense of a "botanical variety", but rather as being synonymous with "cultivar" or "cultivated variety".

Exploitation of a protected variety includes any of the following:

  • Production or reproduction
  • Conditioning for the purpose of propagation
  • Selling or offering for sale or other marketing
  • Importing or exporting
  • Stocking for the purpose of undertaking any of the above

By providing a tool to control commercialisation of a variety, PVRs encourage investment and effort into plant breeding in New Zealand. You can find more details on the nature and volume of PVR applications in our infographics below. 

The rights scheme also allows New Zealanders access to overseas-bred varieties which would not be released here by their breeders without the protection of the legislation. As a result farmers, horticultural producers and home gardeners gain access to an increased number and range of improved varieties.

A grant of Plant Variety Rights may be made if:

  • it is new,
  • it is distinct, sufficiently uniform and stable,
  • it has an acceptable denomination, and
  • formalities are met.

The Plant Variety Rights Act 2022 also includes provisions for indigenous plant species and non-indigenous plant species of significance. These provisions recognise and respect the Crown’s obligations under the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi / the Treaty of Waitangi, through protecting kaitiaki relationships with taonga species and mātauranga Māori.

Managing PVRs

Managing PVRs

The protection given to a breeder of a new plant variety by a grant of PVR is a particular form of intellectual property.

As a PVR holder you may license others to exploit material of the protected variety. Rights holders commonly collect royalties from the commercialisation of their protected varieties.

As with other types of proprietary rights, you may bring civil action against persons or businesses infringing your rights. Other people are free to:

  • grow or use a protected variety for private and non-commercial purposes,
  • use the plants or parts of the protected variety for experimental purposes,
  • use a protected variety for breeding new plant varieties.