Extension of Plant Breeder’s Rights (PBR) System to Norfolk Island

The Plant Breeder’s Rights Act 1994 (PBR Act) is proposed to be extended to Norfolk Island from 1 July 2017. This is in line with the Australian Government’s commitment to implement comprehensive reform on Norfolk Island, to provide Australian citizens with the same rights and responsibilities as on the mainland. The change will also align with the three other intellectual property systems, patents, trade marks and designs, which already apply in Norfolk Island.

To help ensure a seamless extension of the PBR Act to Norfolk Island, IP Australia sought public feedback on two proposed transitional arrangements. No submissions were recieved.

1. It would not be considered infringement of a PBR, if:

  • a person (including a corporation);
  • uses (or takes definitive steps to use) a plant variety;
  • only on Norfolk Island;
  • in the 12 months before 1 July 2017; and
  • the plant variety is protected under the PBR Act in Australia before 1 July 2017.

This arrangement is to ensure that a person using a plant variety on Norfolk Island in the 12 months before 1 July 2017, in line with the previous legislative arrangements, can continue to do so without being disadvantaged.

For example, in December 2016 a person on Norfolk Island was legally using a plant variety. The plant variety is currently protected in Australia but not on Norfolk Island. Under this proposed arrangement, that person can continue to use the variety on Norfolk Island after 1 July 2017 without infringing the protected PBR.

2. A PBR application lodged after 1 July 2017 would not be granted if:

  • the new variety has been sold on Norfolk Island;
  • before 1 July 2017; and
  • for more than 12 months before lodging the PBR application.

This transitional arrangement is intended to bring prior sales of plant varieties on Norfolk Island into line with the rest of Australia under the PBR Act, where currently an application for a new plant variety will not be granted a PBR if:

  • it has been sold in Australia;  and
  • it was sold for more than 12 months before lodging an application.

For example, a breeder on Norfolk Island breeds a new plant variety and starts selling the new variety between 2012 and 2014. The breeder stops selling the new variety in 2014. In February 2017, the breeder applies for a PBR to protect the new variety of plant. The application is not granted because of the previous sale on Norfolk Island.

More Information

If you would like more information please contact Lisa Bailey on (02) 6222 3695 or email lisa.bailey@ipaustralia.gov.au.

You can find out more information about PBR on IP Australia’s website.

You can find out more information about the Australian Government’s Norfolk Island reform agenda on the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development’s website.

Last updated: 
20 October 2016