The New Zealand government is seeking submissions on its proposal to amend section 258 of the Patents Act 2013 which deals with how divisional patent applications are dealt with.

New Zealand's Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) has released a consultation document on proposed amendments to section 258 of the Patents Act 2013. A copy of the full consultation document can be found here.

Specifically, the New Zealand government is proposing to amend the transitional provisions in the 'new' Patents Act 2013. The proposed changes related to divisional patent applications filed under the 'old' Patents Act 1953.

Public submissions on the consultaton document must be filed by 14 October 2016.

The consultation document sets out the bases on which the Ministry suggests the transitional provisions for divisional patent applications could be a problem. Among other things, it suggests the current approach to divisional applications taken by the transitional provisions could adversely impact third parties.

Briefly, MBIE proposes three options for dealing with the problem:

  1. Status quo of do nothing
  2. Set a specific date beyond which no further divisional applications from a 1953 Act case could be filed
  3. Treat divisional applications filed under the 1953 Act as if filed under the 2013 Act (and examine accordingly including for obviousness and support).