Wellington, New Zealand - 18 February 2014 - New Zealand has excelled in a recent study released by the Global Intellectual Property Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce (GIPC) on the strength of intellectual property (IP) protection in 25 countries.
Coming 7th overall, New Zealand has been declared 1st equal for the protection of trade secrets and market access and 2nd equal for protection of trade marks. New Zealand came 2nd overall for controlling physically counterfeited products (only Chile had lower counterfeiting rates), and 3rd for least software piracy of all the countries ranked.

These numbers show that New Zealand has a robust and functioning intellectual property system.

The GIPC also highlights a potential concern for maintaining a strong ranking with regards to the plain packaging tobacco products that Australia introduced last year.

If plain packaging becomes law in New Zealand as well, then it will be set to score lower in the future. The GIPC believes that plain packaging limits trade mark owners' ability to exploit their rights, so the current second place for the protection of trade marks could be lost.

New Zealand lost points this year in membership and ratification of international treaties. Since the laws already reflect much of the content of the treaties, a low score in this area is not of practical concern.

In the patents category, New Zealand lost a point because there are no offers of extension of a patent term for pharmaceutical patents. The extension of patent terms for pharmaceutical patents was discussed through last year's reform period for the 2013 Patent Act, but was not included in the final draft.

Damian Broadley, Partner at AJ Park says, "overall, this is a good result. It demonstrates that New Zealand remains a global leader in protecting and enforcing of IP locally and overseas. While relevance and methodology of surveys such as this can be debated, they give businesses, IP professionals and law makers a starting point to compare the IP protection regimes in different countries. It's encouraging to see New Zealand scoring highly in protection of IP."