A win for New Zealand patent law, the New Zealand Patents Bill (2008) received Royal assent on 13 September 2013, to be enacted as the Patents Act 2013

Team New Zealand is still battling it out to win the America’s Cup.  However, in a win for New Zealand patent law, the New Zealand Patents Bill (2008) received Royal assent on 13 September 2013, to be enacted as the Patents Act 2013.

It has been a five year journey for the New Zealand Patents Bill.  The original Patents Bill was drafted in 2008, had its first reading in May 2009, underwent revisions and then significant debate on software patentability, leading to its second reading in September 2012.  The Bill has finally crossed the finishing line, with substantive provisions coming into force on 13 September 2014 (or earlier if this date is varied by Order in Council from the Governor General).

Practitioners should note that Royal assent of the 2008 Bill has brought a series provisions came into force:

  • appointment of an office and place for the purpose of communications to and from the public on matters arising under the Act, the office is named the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ);
  • the power to appoint a Maori Advisory Committee;
  • appointment of the Commissioner and Assistant Commissioners of patents; and
  • regulation-making powers of the Act.

The provisions of the Patents Act 2013 will apply to all New Zealand applications (complete, national phase, divisional applications) filed after the commencement date of the Act.  Applications filed prior to that date will be handled under the 1953 Act.