Plant Variety Rights Act Summary
New Zealand is a member of the UPOV (1978), the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPs), and the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Documents.
The Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 provides intellectual property rights to plant breeders who create cultivated plant varieties that are new, distinct, homogeneous and stable. Upon registration the plant breeder can prevent others from profiting from their unique cultivation for 23 years for woody plant or its rootstock or 20 years in every other case, subject to the payment of an annual grant fee. New Zealand has not ratified the 1991 UPOV Convention.
The following factors can help determine whether a Plant Variety is sufficiently distinct from other varieties whose existence was common knowledge at the application date:
(i) varieties set out in the UPOV Convention are part of common knowledge, although unnamed varieties, ecotypes and landraces can also be part of common knowledge;
(ii) commercialised plant material of the variety, where commercialisation covers propagation, cultivation and marketing in the public domain;
(iii) existence of living plant material in publicly accessible collections;
(iv) publication of a detailed variety description, including a granted breeders right or plant patent or inclusion in an official or voluntary register, list or other publication in the public domain.