The Plant Variety Rights Bill recently passed its third reading on 16 November 2022, and received Royal Assent on 18 November, becoming the Plant Variety Rights Act 2022 (“the new Act”).
- Plant Variety Rights Act 2022 — New Zealand Legislation
- The Plant Variety Rights Regulations 2022 will be available on the New Zealand Legislation website from 22 December 2022.
The new Act creates a new, modern Plant Variety Rights (PVR) regime that meets responsibilities to Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi. In addition, it allows New Zealand to meet international trade obligations under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The new Act and its Regulations will come into force on 24 January 2023, with the exception of subpart 3 of Part 5 of the new Act. This will include the following key changes:
- The Plant Variety Rights Act 2022 will implement extended exclusive rights provided for by UPOV 91, the most recent international agreement on PVR protection, including:
- The extension of rights to the marketing, exporting, importing and conditioning of propagating material.
- The extension of these rights to “essentially derived varieties”.
- The extension of these rights to harvested material, in certain situations.
- The continuation of existing farm-saved seed provisions, due to the exemption of farm-saved seed from the coverage of the new rights.
- The implementation of a public interest test for compulsory licences.
- The new Act will implement changes according to the recommendations of the Wai 262 report, including:
- The establishment of a Māori Plant Varieties Committee. This Committee will support early engagement between breeders and kaitiaki, assess the impact of a PVR grant on kaitiaki relationships, and make determinations on whether certain applications should or should not proceed.
- New disclosure requirements on breeders when working with indigenous plant species or other species of significance to Māori.
- The ability to refuse the grant of a PVR if kaitiaki interests are affected.
Plant Variety Rights fees will change on 24 January 2023
In line with the commencement of the new Plant Variety Rights Act 2022 and its Regulations, a new schedule of fees will come into force on 24 January 2023. The new fees are summarised below:
The new fees schedule stems from a review of the current cost of services delivered by IPONZ through the Plant Variety Rights Office. Several matters were considered in relation to these new fees, including but not limited to the following:
- PVR fees were last reviewed in 2002, and rising costs in the intervening period have resulted in significant annual deficits incurred by the Plant Variety Rights Office.
- IPONZ drafted a set of proposed changes to PVR fees based on feedback from industry professionals and contacts. Public submissions were then sought on these proposed changes between 13 April and 20 May 2022.
- Some new provisions in the new Act have implications on costs and fees.
Summaries of consultation papers and submissions can be found on the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review section of the MBIE website.
After considering all of the above, a revised set of proposed changes to fees was presented to Cabinet for approval. These changes were approved by the Cabinet Legislation Committee on 15 December 2022, and will come into force with the Plant Variety Rights Act 2022 and Plant Variety Rights Regulations 2022.
For more information about the review of the Plant Variety Rights Act and its associated fees, please see our summary page below.