Plant Variety Rights bill reported back to Parliament

The Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee has reported back to Parliament regarding the Plant Variety Rights Bill.  Our article here summarized the bill as first read.  Key changes recommended by the Select Committee include:

  • Amending the purposes of the legislation, to include “to protect kaitiaki relationships with taonga species and mātauranga Māori”, a separate provision addressing the Crown’s obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi, and expressing the purpose of balancing the interests of plant breeders, growers, and society as a whole (corresponding to the purpose as recited in the Patents Act;
  • aligning the bill’s definition of essentially derived variety (EDV) with the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants 1991 (UPOV-91) definition, rather than the Australian definition
  • clarifying that farmers may only reproduce, or condition for propagation, farm-saved seed for farming activities on their own farm holdings
  • several amendments to the compulsory licence provisions, including to the public interest test, and excluding EDVs from the provisions,
  • inserting subclauses that certain testing practices or initial contracts would not affect whether the variety fits the definition of novel;
  • Extending the term of protection from 20 to 25 years for potatoes, in addition to woody plants.

Photo by Eric Prouzet 

The Committee’s report can be read here.  Given the short time remaining for Parliament to sit this year, the Bill is unlikely to get further than second reading in 2021.  However it is still expected to commence in mid-2022.

December 2021

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