New Zealand’s new Plant Variety Rights regime starts today – 24 January 2023

Article  \  24 Jan 2023

Most of the substantive provisions of the new Plant Variety Rights Act 2022 are effective from 24 January 2023 and the new Plant Variety Rights regulations and fees also take effect from this date. Subpart 3 of Part 5, which relates to applications involving taonga species will come into force at least one year from now. This is to allow time for the Commissioner of Plant Variety Rights (PVR) to appoint the Māori PVR Committee, who will develop guidelines for assessing applications involving taonga species.

Applications that were filed prior to 24 January 2023 will continue to be examined under the old 1987 Act. All existing grants, and grants of currently pending applications, will continue to have the protections set out in the 1987 Act (not the improved protections offered by the new Act).

For more info on the key changes to the Act see our previous article here.

Key changes to regulations

The new regulations set out how applications will be handled by the Office. They also provide details on the procedures that will be followed for non-routine matters, like oppositions and compulsory licences. These procedures are modelled on the Patent Regulations 2014.

The Regulations also include a list of non-indigenous species of significance in Schedule 2. Applications for a species included on this list will be referred to the Māori PVR committee, along with all applications for native plants. 

Other new provisions in the PVR Regulations 2022 include:

  • The ability of the Commissioner to request plant material for DUS testing
  • A requirement for colour photographs to be supplied at the time of filing an application
  • All applications must be made via the online filing system.

Key changes to fees

Following an internal review and public consultation, MBIE have also revised the fee structure for PVR applications. This process is ongoing and will be reassessed in approximately three years’ time.

Instead of charging application and/or examination fee based on variety, there will be a single application fee and a single examination fee regardless of variety. There are still variety specific fees for growing trials conducted by the PVR Office.

The new fees will apply to applications made from 24 January 2023 onwards. Any varieties which have been applied for or are already under trial or examination before this date will remain under the old fee structure.

The annual renewal fee is also increasing from $160 to $385. The new renewal fee will also apply to existing grants, although the first renewal of an existing PVR after the implementation date will be the old rate.

If you have any questions, please get in touch.

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