Welcome to Licencing Executives Society (LES) – New Zealand chapter

Hi everyone, welcome to our July newsletter. This month’s newsletter covers:

  • An update on the new Plant Variety Rights Bill.
  • Recap of the LESANZ 2021 Annual Conference and how to access recordings.
  • Our upcoming event, Flora and Fauna: Indigenous perspectives from Aotearoa and abroad, 14 July, Wellington.
  • Upcoming events to look out for in 2021.


Update on the new Plant Variety Rights Act

One of the key legislative frameworks for licensing plant intellectual property in NZ is the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987. This Act is over 30 years old and is being reviewed to 1) fulfil our obligations under the CPTP, 2) protect kaitiaki interests in indigenous plants consistent with the Treaty of Waitangi, and 3) modernise the regime.

The new Plant Variety Rights Bill has been introduced to Parliament and had its first reading. It is now before the Economic Development, Science and Innovation select committee for consideration. 

If you are involved in breeding or licensing plant varieties in any capacity, then we encourage you to read the proposal on the parliamentary website for progress on the Bill. https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_111271/plant-variety-rights-bill


Conference recap

Licensing Executives Society (LES) Australia and New Zealand successfully hosted its first ever hybrid conference on 5-7th May with 130 attendees zooming in from three different Australasian time zones.

The conference opened with ‘Workshop Wednesday’ which featured two educational intellectual property (IP) sessions, Indigenous IP and IP Valuation. The first session discussed how to build engagement with indigenous peoples and discussed the meaning of access and benefit sharing. The second session delved into how to value a company’s intangible asset portfolio. These workshops were presented by Lynell Tuffery Huria (AJ Park), Stacey Whitiora (Plant & Food Research) and Simon Rowell (Innovation Liberation Front).

The annual conference launched with our keynote speaker, Miriana Stephens, Director at Wakatū Incorporation, discussing what success looks like in a Maori intergenerational business focussed on preserving and enhancing social, economic and environmental benefits for their people. In the past four decades, Wakatu Incorporation has grown from an $11m asset base to value over $350m.

The two-day conference themes were:

  • Reinvention – how businesses are transforming what they do
  • Fresh approaches – new business models, new relationships, new ways of doing things
  • New beginnings – impact of new technologies and how to become a unicorn


Guest speakers spoke on a variety of topics and issues including AI technologies, driverless cars and air transport, medicinal cannabis, circular economies, clean tech and reinventing wool proteins for personal care. The sessions were thought provoking with New Zealand and Australian audiences asking many questions and having lengthy discussions on Zoom.

Click here to read WRAP UP more about the 2021 LESANZ conference report.

Thank you to our sponsors AJ Park, FB Rice and Clarivate; and to our organising conference committee members Sue Muggleston (Plant & Food Research), Melissa Wong (BioPacific Partners), Wilson Huang (Plant & Food Research), Christine Egan (AJ Park), and Beth Benson (LESANZ).

LESANZ has now produced the on-demand access to these workshops and presentations. These are now available to view, please contact the LESANZ Secretariat [email protected] for details.


Flora & Fauna: indigenous perspective from Aotearoa & abroad

Tech: indigenous perspectives from Aotearoa and abroad (Zoom seminar)

12 -1pm pm, Tuesday 23rd November 2021


Upcoming New Zealand events

If you would like to sign up to these events, please email Beth at [email protected]

  • LESANZ basic licensing workshop, Waikato
  • Protecting your IP: AI and machine learning, Waikato