What is it?

New Zealand has adopted new legislation to join the international trade mark registration system, known as the Madrid Protocol. The Madrid Protocol comes into force in New Zealand on 10 December 2012.

This could impact you if you are a New Zealand individual or business that:

  • owns a trade mark;
  • trades overseas or plans to trade overseas; and
  • plans to protect its trade mark through trade mark registration.

How does it work?

First you need a “basic” New Zealand trade mark application or registration on which to base your international registration.

Then an application for international registration can be filed designating any number of territories party to the international registration system.

The trade mark office in each designated territory then examines the international registration in the same way it would a national application.

Most of New Zealand’s main export markets are already members of the international registration system, and membership will continue to grow. View this page for a list of members.

What does it mean for my business?

The international registration system will provide New Zealand businesses with an alternative route for securing trade mark protection in overseas markets in a cost effective and efficient manner.

However, the international registration system is also an opportunity for individuals and businesses located overseas to obtain protection in New Zealand. There is a real possibility that foreign businesses may acquire potentially conflicting rights. New Zealand’s membership of the international registration system also serves as a reminder that it is important to protect your brands at home, as well as offshore.