Procedure for obtaining plant variety rights



We prepare and lodge the appropriate application documents and pay the Government fees. When the application is filed it is allotted an official number and a filing date which becomes the priority date. Upon receipt of these details we will forward you a filing report which includes information on the rights conferred by your pending PVR application.


We also endeavour to remind you of important dates, including when you should consider applying for international rights. To enable us to prepare an application for plant variety rights it is necessary to complete a detailed questionnaire concerning the various characteristics of the plant variety.


For agricultural crops, herbage and vegetable varieties you will often be asked to supply viable seed.


For ornamentals, forest tree and fruit varieties, it is necessary for authorised persons to have access to the plants so that they can inspect them growing. Often the inspection service is conducted by an entity such as Plant and Food Research.




The plants are inspected over their growing season to verify the details as stated in the initial application. For fruit and ornamentals this period could be from 12 to 18 months, and less for vegetable crops.


If the examiner of the variety finds it is new, distinct, homogeneous and stable, it is then recommended to the Registrar that a grant of plant variety rights be made.
International applications


Within 12 months of the initial application, it is possible to file for plant variety rights in other countries, your priority to the rights being back-dated to the date of the New Zealand application. This twelve month period is critical for the United States as it has a plant patent system with strict novelty requirements.


Community plant variety rights (CPVR)


A CPVR provides protection for a plant variety in all countries of the European Community. The obvious advantage is that a single application is required to cover all EC countries.


Exporters of new flower and fruit varieties enthusiastically utilise this new procedure.


Other countries


Most other countries have similar novelty requirements to New Zealand.


We can provide you with information on other countries, and file applications for you overseas.


Further, we can develop filing strategies that maximise coverage and minimise costs.




Plant variety rights last for a maximum of 23 years for woody plants, and 20 years for other plants, from the date of grant.


To ensure continuation in New Zealand of the registered rights, an annual renewal fee is payable. Our Renewals Department is setup to remind you of these.

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