On 15 November 2016, the Patents (Trans-Tasman Patent Attorneys and Other Matters) Amendment Bill (“Bill”) passed its final reading in New Zealand’s Parliament, and is due to come into force no later than 24 February 2017.

The Bill essentially mirrors the changes as per the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill 2014 (Cth), which the Australian government passed earlier this year, with the exception that the single trans-Tasman patent application process (SAP) and single patent examination process (SEP), after being removed during public consultation, has not been implemented. A copy of our recent article discussing the removal of the SAP and SEP from the Bill can be found here.

The Bill will now implement three main amendments to the New Zealand Patents Act 2013, namely:

  • Establishment of a single trans-Tasman patent attorney regime including a single qualification for registration, code of conduct and disciplinary tribunal,
  • Creation of a single trans-Tasman patent attorney register, and
  • Removal of ‘unity of invention’ as a ground to oppose a patent being granted. This will apply retrospectively from 13 September 2014.

What does this mean for you?

It remains business as usual for Australia and New Zealand with both maintaining its own separate patent and examination process, and without the option of filing each application through a single portal.

The joint registration regime for patent attorneys in Australia and New Zealand effectively brings New Zealand practitioners under the current Australian regime, mirroring their registration, training and disciplinary structures.