Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 review: Proposed Regulations

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Submissions due: 25 August 2021, 5pm

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is seeking submissions on the consultation paper exploring proposed regulations to support the new PVR regime.

The feedback from this consultation will be used to advise the Government on what regulations will be needed to implement the provisions of the Plant Variety Rights (PVR) Bill.

About the consultation

A new Plant Variety Rights Bill (the Bill) to replace the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 (the Act) was introduced to Parliament on 11 May 2021 and completed its first reading on 19 May 2021. This Bill modernises the regime and implements the Crown’s obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi in relation to the plant variety rights regime, and New Zealand’s obligations under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

This discussion document considers what regulations will needed to implement the provisions of the Bill. The regulations mainly deal with procedural and administrative issues relating to the implementation of the Bill.

The current regulations, the Plant Variety Rights Regulations 1988 (the PVR Regulations), are now out of date and are not fit-for-purpose. For example, there are provisions where the PVR Act refers to something prescribed in the regulations, but where the regulations are silent. In addition, the PVR Regulations are silent on many procedural aspects relating to the process for making applications for the PVRs, examining and granting the applications, and dealing with issues that arise after grant.

In light of this, MBIE considers that a complete review of the PVR Regulations is required, rather than simply amending the current regulations. Given the many similarities with the patents regime, the proposed regulations mirror the Patents Regulations 2014 where it is appropriate to do so.

What we are seeking feedback on

This discussion document seeks feedback on proposed regulations to support the implementation of the provisions of the PVR Bill, particularly whether MBIE should: 

  • Draft a new set of regulations, from scratch without reference to regulations developed for other legislation, including other legislation administered by IPONZ
  • Base the regulations, as far as possible, on relevant provisions of regulations developed for other legislation administered IPONZ, in particular the Patents Regulations 2014.

There are also a number of issues for which there are no equivalents in the patents regime (such as time limits for paying fees and responding to requests for information and propagating material; and matters relating to growing trials and compulsory licences). These are discussed in greater detail in the discussion document.

The document also seeks feedback on the proposed list of ‘non-indigenous species of significance’, and on how we should proceed with further consultation on this list if required. This list sets out the species that are not indigenous to New Zealand but are still considered taonga by Māori because they were brought over on the migrating waka. Any PVR application relating to these species will be referred to the Māori Plant Varieties Committee for consideration. 

Feedback on these issues will inform officials’ advice to the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to enable policy decisions. These decisions will inform which options to take in developing regulations.

How to make a submission

Your submission may respond to any or all of the issues in the consutation paper.

Please use the submission template (also provided above).

Please include your contact details in the cover letter or e-mail accompanying your submission.

You can make your submission by:

  • sending your submission as a Microsoft Word document to pvractreview@mbie.govt.nz; or  

  • mailing your submission to:

    Corporate Governance and Intellectual Property Policy
    Building, Resources and Markets
    Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment
    PO Box 1473
    Wellington 6140
    New Zealand

We are proposing to hold an online hui to discuss the proposed list of non-indigenous species of significance if there is interest in doing so. Please register your interest below if you would like the opportunity to discuss this and we will be in touch with a proposed date.

Register your interest in the online hui

Please direct any questions that you have in relation to the submissions process to: pvractreview@mbie.govt.nz

Last updated: 14 July 2021