The Patents Act 2013 has been passed by the New Zealand parliament, heralding significant changes to the previous Act. Most of the new provisions will commence on 13 September 2014.

The purposes of the new law include:

  • Provide greater certainty of validity of granted patents.
  • Address concerns about inventions derived from indigenous plants and animals, and from Maori traditional knowledge.
  • Take account of developments in patent systems of other countries.

Significantly, the Act will bring New Zealand patent law into substantial conformity with the Australian patent law as amended in April 2013 under ‘Raising the Bar’ legislation. This is intended to facilitate the planned introduction of a Trans-Tasman single application and single examination process covering the two countries in 2015.

Recommendations

We recommend that all applicants and practitioners consider early filing of a New Zealand complete application, New Zealand divisional application or entering the national phase of PCT application early in New Zealand.

Particular consideration should be given to software related patent applications which may not meet the new requirements of Section 11 of the new Act.