11 May 2017

From 1 July 2017, the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act 1994 (PBR Act) will apply in Norfolk Island. This is in line with the Australian Government’s commitment to implement comprehensive reform in Norfolk Island, providing the people there with the same rights and responsibilities as people in the rest of Australia. 

It also aligns the PBR Act with Australia’s other intellectual property systems that already apply in Norfolk Island. These systems include patents, trade marks, designs, copyright and electronic-circuit layouts. Norfolk Island has not had any system for protecting new varieties of plants before.

On 13 April 2017, Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, the Minister for Local Government and Territories, made the Territories Legislation (Plant Breeder’s Rights) Transitional Rules 2017. These Transitional Rules set out how the PBR Act will apply transitionally in Norfolk Island, ensuring that from 1 July 2017:

  • the sale of plant material in Norfolk Island before 1 July 2017 will affect the grant of Australian PBR after that date in just the same way as the previous sale of plant material in the rest of Australia (i.e. that a PBR cannot be granted if sale took place more than 12 months before the PBR application is filed)
  • a person who is already using a plant variety that is protected in Australia, but not on Norfolk Island will not be disadvantaged by the extension of the PBR Act to Norfolk Island from 1 July 2017. After 1 July 2017, the person can still freely do anything in respect of that plant variety (or a dependent variety) without infringing the PBR in the variety.

See Extension of Plant Breeder’s Rights (PBR) System to Norfolk Island for more details on these Transnational Rules.