Disclosure of origin requirements in the patents regime

We are consulting on possible options to introduce a disclosure of origin requirement in the patents regime.

Patent disclosure of origin requirements

Patent disclosure of origin requirements require applicants to disclose the origin of genetic resources and/or traditional knowledge used in their inventions.

The Waitangi Tribunal recommended in the Wai 262 report(external link) to implement a disclosure of origin requirement in New Zealand’s patents regime.

Disclosure of origin requirements are also discussed in international forums, like the World Intellectual Property Organization Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore.

Benefits of disclosing

Requiring patent applicants to disclose the origin of genetic resources and/or traditional knowledge may:

  • help ensure relevant applications are referred to the Patents Māori Advisory Committee, which assesses whether the commercial exploitation of an invention may be contrary to Māori values
  • improve transparency in the patents regime so that interested groups, including Māori, the public and government can find out information about the use of genetic resources and/or traditional knowledge in inventions.

About the consultation

A discussion document on possible options to introduce a disclosure of origin requirement in the patents regime was released for consultation over September-December 2018.

Find out more about the disclosure of origin consultation

We commissioned Castalia to produce an economic evaluation of three potential options for a patent disclosure of origin requirement.

Castalia report: Economic Evaluation of Disclosure of Origin Requirements [PDF, 683 KB] 

The consultation closed on Friday, 21 December 2018.

Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review

Over September-December 2018 we also consulted on the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review.

Consultation closed in December 2018 and we have reviewed submissions.

Find out more about the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review.

Workshop and regional hui

We held a workshop in Wellington in November 2018 to discuss patent disclosure of origin requirements.

We also held regional hui with Māori during the consultation period to discuss both the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review issues paper and the patent disclosure of origin discussion document.

If you would like to be kept informed about our work on patent disclosure of origin and/or the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review subscribe for updates(external link).

Next steps

Now that the consultation period on the discussion document has closed, we will be reviewing the submissions received and providing advice to ministers.

The Government is expected to make a decision on next steps in the first half of 2019.

Last updated: 08 April 2019