Commerce Minister Craig Foss announced last month that regulations to implement two major international trade mark treaties will be in force in New Zealand by the end of the year.

New Zealand deposited the Instrument of Accession to the Madrid Protocol and the Ratification of the Singapore Treaty with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on 10 September 2012. The agreements will enter into force in New Zealand on 10 December 2012.

The Madrid Protocol provides a cost effective way for individuals and businesses with trade marks to protect their marks in multiple countries, by filing one application with a single office and without the need for a local agent to do the filing. The regulations will allow for trade marks for multiple overseas territories to be filed with IPONZ through an international registration system. The Singapore Treaty is aimed at internationally harmonising the administrative rules and procedures for trade mark registration.

The regulations will also assist in meeting obligations under the Nice Agreement (concerning the international classification of goods and services for the purposes of registering trademarks and service marks) and more closely align New Zealand's trade mark regime with Australia's. The New Zealand and Australian Governments have agreed to work towards developing a single trade mark regime as part of their Single Economic Market program.