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What plant varieties can be protected?

Any plant variety (algae and bacteria excluded), clone, hybrid or line of a variety may be eligible for registration provided the variety is new, distinct, homogeneous and stable.

Definitions of these terms are given below.

New

A plant variety is considered to be new:

  • If it has not been offered for sale in New Zealand for more than 12 months before the date of an application for plant variety rights; and
  • If, being a woody plant, it has not been sold overseas more than six years before the application is filed; or
  • If, being a non-woody plant, it has not been sold overseas more than four years before the application is filed.
Distinct

A plant variety is considered distinct if it is distinguishable from any other variety by one or more characteristics.

Homogeneous

In certain cases a grafted plant variety may not be considered homogeneous. In judging this quality the Commissioner of Plant Varieties has regard to the sexual or vegetative propagation of the variety.

Stable

A plant variety is considered stable if it remains true to its description after repeated propagation and reproduction in accordance with reproductive cycles described by the applicant.