New Zealand and Australia often slip off the radar when it comes to filing overseas patent applications.

Why is this?

Traditionally, both countries are seen as being relatively small markets – not justifying the patent spend.

We beg to differ.  Australasia has always presented a number of unique opportunities which are not to be overlooked.

Moreover, this year Australia and New Zealand welcomed the conclusion of the TPP negotiations – and the significance of this needs to be realised, if overseas applicants don’t want to miss out on, the gam changer opportunities that TPP helps provide.

This article is the first (of a series) to explore why overseas applicants need to put Australasia on their patent filing map.

Series 1: Great Business Environment

Most overseas companies don’t realise New Zealand and Australia are great places to do business for a multitude of reasons.

1. Game Changer Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement

The TPP sets up a 12 country agreement covering over 800 million consumers and making up nearly 40% of the global GDP.  The countries include:

Click here to view table.

Key advantages brought by TPP to Australian and New Zealand companies include:

  • Easy access to new markets
  • Reducing tariffs by over 90%
  • Reducing business compliance costs
  • Reducing trade barriers on services and investments

Importantly, overseas companies, particularly of those based in jurisdictions outside the TPP deal, may consider using Australia and New Zealand’s as “ports” to gain access to and better navigate the trans-Pacific region.

2. NZ and Australia are sophisticated developed western economies free of corruption

The following statistics confirm without doubt that New Zealand and Australia offer a top-class business environment:

The 2015 Index of Economic Freedom ranked New Zealand 3rd, Australia 4th, amongst the world’s freest economies;
The 2014 Transparency International Corruption Index ranked New Zealand 2nd, Australia 11th, of the least corrupted countries in the world; and
The 2014 World Bank Doing Business report ranked New Zealand 2nd for the ease of doing business, and 1st in categories such as starting a business and protecting investors.   

3. Funding & Investment Opportunities for New Companies

In Australia, the government has rolled out nearly $200 million in funding to establish Industry Growth Centres over the next four years in the following business sectors:

  • Food and Agribusiness;
  • Mining Equipment, Technology and Services;
  • Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals;
  • Advanced Manufacturing; and
  • Oil, Gas and Energy Resources

For New Zealand, in addition to the thriving primary industries, the Government is able to support rapid growth in sectors such as technology and food and beverage: through the Business Growth Agenda program, whilst investing $100 million over six years in 31 projects at New Zealand Universities, Crown Research Institutes and private research organisations.

4. Telecommunication

Both governments have invested in sophisticated telecommunication networks to facilitate global communication.  Furthermore, a New Zealand company has recently raised $400 million to build a submarine fibre optic cable network (expected to be operating by 2017) linking New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

Take Home Message

If overseas companies wish to take advantage of New Zealand and Australia’s great business environment, then we recommend:

setting up joint ventures with local enterprises; and