It has been several months since the new Plant Variety Rights Act 2022 (New Act) entered into force in New Zealand, with the goal of modernizing its intellectual property (IP) regime to accommodate a number of updates in plant breeding, both locally and internationally. The New Act broadly harmonises the protection of plant varieties in New Zealand with Australia and other countries, although there are still some interesting differences that make the New Zealand system distinct and which practitioners and breeders need to keep in mind. In the following article, we explain the effect of some of the key changes and consider how they compare to existing laws across the Tasman Sea in Australia.
As many readers will know, the New Act replaced the outdated Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 (Old Act) and finally places New Zealand in compliance with both the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (1991 revision, UPOV-91). These updates, which are outlined below, were intended to encourage local innovation and harmonise protection of plant varieties with other countries, including Australia. Read more