Plant variety rights

This page is about the protection of new plant varieties and our review of the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987.

About plant variety rights

Plant variety rights (PVRs) give you the exclusive right to produce for sale and sell propagating material of a new plant variety.

In the case of vegetatively-propagated fruit, ornamental and vegetable varieties, PVRs give you the additional exclusive commercial right to propagate the protected variety for the commercial production of fruit, flowers or other products.

To be granted a PVR the plant variety must be:

  • new
  • distinct
  • uniform
  • stable

It must also have an acceptable variety name (denomination).

Find out more about applying for and managing a plant variety right on the IPONZ website.(external link)

Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review

The Government has been reviewing the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987. In September 2018 we released an Issues paper exploring the key issues and opportunities for change in the PVR regime. Consultation closed on Friday 21 December 2018.

We released an Options paper in July 2019, seeking feedback on options to amend the Plant Variety Rights Act. Submissions closed on 9 September 2019.

On 18 November 2019 Cabinet agreed to make change to the PVR Act. These changes give effect to our obligations under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Treaty of Waitang.

Next steps

While work toward drafting new legislation has commenced, there remain a small number of additional policy issues that require further consideration and consultation. These include Treaty of Waitangi compliance issues and operational issues relating to the PVR Office.

A discussion document exploring these outstanding issues opened for consultation on 10 August 2020 and closed on 5 October 2020.

Following this consultation process, we hope to seek Cabinet decisions on these outstanding policy issues and introduce a Bill in early 2021. Once the Bill is introduced, we will begin consultations on changes to the Plant Variety Rights Regulations 1988.

Last updated: 14 December 2020