This year New Zealand’s patent laws are changing. There will be significant advantages in filing PCT national phase or Paris Convention applications in New Zealand by 13 September 2014.

Patent Law Changes in New Zealand

In September 2014, a new Patents Act will come into force in New Zealand.

The Act will improve the quality of granted patents in New Zealand by subjecting patent applications to tougher examination criteria in line with international standards.

The most significant changes are:

  • Patent applications will be examined for inventive step;
  • A higher standard of disclosure in the written description will need to be satisfied;
  • Exclusion from patentability for some computer-implemented inventions;
  • A request for examination will be required; and
  • A re-examination procedure will provide another mechanism to challenge NZ patents.

Our website has a more detailed summary of the changes: New Dawn for the New Zealand Patent Landscape - the New Patents Act.

Take action by 13 September 2014

Patent applications filed in New Zealand claiming priority from overseas applications will be subject to the existing laws provided the New Zealand national phase filing date or the Paris Convention application filing date is on or before 13 September 2014.

Regardless of the nature of the invention, the tougher examination criteria can be avoided by taking action in time.  Patent applications filed under the existing laws will proceed to acceptance faster and more easily.

File early for software patents

The new laws may affect the extent to which computer-implemented inventions are patentable in New Zealand.  This risk can be avoided by filing patent applications for this technology in New Zealand by 13 September 2014.

The issues on the changes to patentability of software are discussed in more detail on our website: New Zealand software patents: Reports of their death have been greatly exaggerated.