Plant variety rights

A plant variety right (PVR) is an intellectual property right designed to encourage people to develop and disseminate new varieties of plants.

It grants plant breeders and developers the exclusive right to commercialise the propagating material (e.g. spores, seeds or cuttings) of new varieties they develop for a certain amount of time.

Plant breeding improves the performance of plant varieties, enabling growers and farmers to gain higher yields of better quality (e.g. disease resistance) that meet commercial and consumer needs. Harvested material from new plant varieties may lead to the production of new, improved products (e.g. craft beer from hops), more nutritious fruit and vegetables and more choice in general for consumers. An example of a protected variety is the kiwifruit variety ‘Zesy002’ which is commonly sold under the brand SunGold®.

However, breeding new varieties of plants can involve considerable investment of time and money. The PVR regime is intended to provide incentives for plant breeders to develop new varieties, by providing them with an opportunity to get a return on this investment through the granting of exclusive rights for a certain period.

Plant Variety Rights Act review

The Government is reviewing the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987.

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Early 2000s review of the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987

The Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 was reviewed in the early 2000s to determine whether the Act provides adequate protection for new plant varieties.

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Contact us

For further information (except legal advice), please contact:

Business Law Team
Commerce, Consumers and Communications Branch
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
15 Stout Street
PO Box 1473

Phone: 04-472 0030 
Fax: 04-499 1791