20 November 2012 New Zealand signs up to international treaty making trade mark protection easier


In Brief

An important new development for trade mark protection in New Zealand comes into effect on 1 December 2012.  We look at what this means for businesses seeking brand protection in New Zealand.

In an important new development for Australian businesses seeking registered trade mark protection for their brands in New Zealand, the Madrid Protocol and the Singapore Treaty will enter into force in New Zealand on 10 December 2012.  Most of Australia's major trading partners are already members of this system.

This means that Australian trade mark owners will be able to apply for trade mark registration in New Zealand more easily, and more cheaply. It means that an application can be made in New Zealand (and all other Madrid Protocol countries including Europe and the USA) using a single application through the World Intellectual Property Office, without the need to engage trade mark lawyers or agents in New Zealand.

Commentary on the change in New Zealand suggests that this moves New Zealand and Australia closer together with a view to create a single economic market between the two countries.  It also aligns with the New Zealand and Australian Governments' announcement in 2011 for the implementation of a simplified filing and examination process for patent applications filed in both countries by June 2014.  These changes are already taking effect in Australia with the advent of the 'Raising the Bar' legislation, which comes into effect in its entirety in April 2013.

Even if New Zealand is not a significant market for your goods or services, with these changes, you may want to reconsider whether it is commercially sensible to take steps to extend protection in New Zealand.

For further information, please contact us.

Co-authored by M Hall.

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This article is not legal advice and the views and comments are of a general nature only. This article is not to be relied upon in substitution for detailed legal advice.

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