The New Zealand Patents Act 2013 received royal assent on 13 September 2013.  The new Act, which first entered parliament as the New Zealand Patent Bill 2008, brings a much needed update of patent law in New Zealand.

In most cases, the provisions of the new Act will not come into force until 13 September 2014.  At some stage before this date, updated Patent Regulations will be published. The status of this key document is however unclear at this time.

Some key points from the new Act include:

  • Worldwide (absolute) novelty and inventive step
  • Inventive step will be a ground for examination
  • Claims will be required to be 'supported by the description', rather than merely 'fairly based'
  • Computer software as such is excluded from patentability