Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review
We are reviewing the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987.
Why a review is needed
The Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 is now over 30 years old and has only had minor amendments since it was first passed. The plant breeding industry has changed significantly during this time and a review is necessary to ensure the regime is fit-for-purpose today. We also need a regime that protects kaitiaki interests in indigenous plants consistent with the Treaty of Waitangi – a central focus of this review.
Another major driver for the review is meeting our obligations under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which requires us to align our PVR regime with the International Convention on the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 91) by 30 December 2021.
What the review aims to achieve
The review is an opportunity to:
- find the right balance between strengthening plant breeders’ rights to encourage innovation (consistent with our international obligations) and preserving the interests of growers, consumers, Māori and other interested groups to achieve a net benefit to New Zealand as a whole
- ensure the regime is consistent with New Zealand’s Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi obligations
- modernise the regime consistent (where appropriate) with other intellectual property legislation.
Last year we consulted on an Issues Paper
An Issues Paper exploring the main issues and opportunities for change in the plant variety rights (PVR) regime was released for consultation over September-December 2018.
We held public/industry meetings and hui for engagement with Māori during the consultation period.
We also released a Māori engagement plan that set out how we planned to engage with Māori at this and later stages of the review.
What we heard during the issues stage consultation
We heard a wide variety of views at the public/industry meetings and regional hui with Māori last year. We also received 36 written submissions on the Issues Paper. These submissions cover a wide range of views, including plant breeders, growers, the legal sector and Māori.
Submitters who wished to remain anonymous are referred to as ‘anonymous submitter’. Redactions have been made in accordance with the Official Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1993 and when content may be defamatory or commercially sensitive. Two submitters requested for their submissions to remain confidential. These submissions have not been published.
What we heard has informed the development for the options for change to the PVR regime that we are now consulting on.
We are now consulting on an options paper
We have now released an Options Paper for consultation. This paper is informed by what we heard in the issues stage and by an independent economic analysis of the Plant Varieties Innovation system commissioned by MBIE. This analysis was carried out by the Sapere Research Group.
The Options Paper sets out options for changing the PVR Act and, where supported by the analysis, we indicate our preferred options.
Disclosure of origin requirements in the patents regime
Over September-December 2018 we also consulted on a discussion document considering options for introducing a requirement that patent applications include the origin of any genetic resources and traditional knowledge used in their inventions.
Once the consultation period on the Options Paper has closed, we will review the feedback received through submissions, then provide advice to Ministers on changes to the PVR Act.