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.
The Government is reviewing 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.