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    Rights: The University of Waikato
    Published 9 June 2011 Referencing Hub media

    A plant variety right (PVR) defines who owns and has the right to license or sell a new plant variety. A PVR is critical to recoup the cost of breeding a new cultivar and to profit from its successful commercialisation. Here, Prevar CEO Brett Ennis explains some of the procedures the company and its service providers follow to maximise the usefulness of a PVR.

    This video clip refers specifically to Prevar’s approach to protecting IP for pipfruit.

    Teaching points

    • Have students find out more about the purpose of a plant variety right, the benefits to the owner and the wider public and the responsibilities involved in maintaining the PVR (see useful links below).
    • How does IP ownership benefit the apple industry?
    • Why is IP protection not sought earlier in the breeding process?
    • Discuss the confidentiality procedures. Why are they required and how would they constrain the development process?

    Useful links

    Intellectual property
    Learn more about intellectual property and what’s involved in granting a plant variety right on the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office website.


    Brett Ennis (Prevar)
    PVR is essentially just intellectual property ownership. It just defines that you own that intellectual property. A plant variety right is granted in New Zealand for a period of 23 years [for woody plants], and this is a legal ownership entity that enables Prevar to secure its intellectual property.

    Each new variety has to be assessed for its distinctiveness, its uniformity and its stability. It’s called the D-U-S, the DUS test. So the variety is planted and assessed independently to meet those requirements, and once it’s satisfied those requirements that it is in fact a unique variety, it can be granted a plant variety right or a PVR.

    It’s important when you obtain your intellectual property that you maximise its life, and in order to do so, we often don't seek intellectual property protection or a PVR until just about the time we are about to license and enter into a commercial relationship where of course we want lots of trees put in the ground so we can grow the fruit and sell and so on. So what we have to do up until then is make sure we enter into test agreements that protect confidentiality, that define who owns the variety, and that we make sure that the variety is not illegally propagated or provided to any other party.

    So when we test new varieties, AIGN enter into test agreements which Prevar has approved which make sure that there is no deliberate or inadvertent disclosure about that new variety until all parties are ready. So, for example, we don't enter into arrangements where consumers test our varieties in supermarkets. We make sure that we don't publish technical information about our cultivars, that we don't show people our cultivars unless they have signed confidentiality agreements. So there is a whole range of policies and procedures right across Prevar and its 2 service providers to be sure that we don't compromise the life of that intellectual property.

    Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand