New Zealand’s legislation relating to new plant varieties has been modernised.
A new Act (the Plant Varieties Rights Act 2022), and its Regulations, will come into force on 24 January 2023.
The previous Act of 1987 has been updated to create a regime with the stated purposes:
(a) to provide an efficient and effective plant variety rights system that revises and consolidates the law on plant variety rights in the light of New Zealand’s obligations under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in relation to the UPOV Convention:
(b) to protect kaitiaki relationships with taonga species and mātauranga Māori in the plant variety rights system:
(c) to promote innovation and economic growth in New Zealand by providing incentives for the development and use of new plant varieties while maintaining an appropriate balance between the interests of plant breeders, growers, and others so there is a net benefit to society as a whole.
UPOV is The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, an intergovernmental organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland. UPOV was established in 1961. New Zealand became a member in 1981.
The UPOV Convention provides a unique form of intellectual property protection which has been specifically adapted for the process of plant breeding and has been developed with the aim of encouraging breeders to develop new varieties of plants.