Intellectual Property Services in New Zealand

What Is Intellectual Property?

Knowledge, creativity, innovative ideas or expressions of human mind that have commercial value and are protectable under copyright, trademark and/or patent laws from imitation and infringement are referred to as intellectual property. Intellectual property rights usually give the creator an exclusive right over the use of their creation for a certain period of time.

There are four main types of Intellectual property:

  • Trade Secret
  • Trademark
  • Copyright
  • Patent

What Are Intellectual Property Rights?

An intellectual property right (IPR) has been defined as ideas, inventions, and creative expressions based on which there is a public willingness to bestow the status of property. It is a legal right given to an individual or a company with an aim to protect the creations of the intellect.

Intellectual Property Rights in New Zealand

The government agency responsible for granting and registration of Intellectual Property Protection Rights like patent, trademark, design, and plant variety is the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ). There are two basic types of IP in New Zealand – Registered and Unregistered. It’s important to recognize their differences because this knowledge can inform what steps you want to take.

1. Registered IP

As the name implies, registered IP is the one which is recognized by the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ). It includes:

  • Registered Trademarks- brand name or a logo
  • Designs- shape or appearance of a product
  • Patents- inventions, new products or materials
  • Plant variety rights- new type of plant

2. Unregistered IP

Although not registered with a national agency like IPONZ, unregistered IP still offers legal protection and can help protect secret information. It includes:

  • Unregistered Trademarks
  • Trade secrets
  • Secrecy Agreements
  • Copyright

Types of Intellectual Property in NZ

If identified and used correctly, IP can be a business’ most valuable asset. Here’s the list of IPs available in New Zealand:

1. Trademark

A trademark exclusively identifies a product or service that legally differentiates it from the other. It can be a sign, symbol, or a phrase that denotes a specific product or service of a company. A trademark in NZ can be applied through two ways:

  • Pre-application service, known as TM Headstart
  • Standard online application process

Before applying, NZ trademark search must be done to check if the product or service is available in the website or not.

If you file a standard trademark it is made available to public shortly after the application is filed after which you can make only limited changes. When you file a TM Headstart process your request in not published until you pay the fees and you have wider range of options to remove the potential barriers to registration. To register trademark in NZ you have to file an application. To file an application, you will need the following documents:

  • Your name/ownership details and contact details
  • A representation of the trade mark
  • A description of the goods or services to which it will apply
  • A list of the relevant classes
  • A translation/transliteration of any part of your mark that is in another language
  • Required fees

A registered trade mark is valid for 10 years and may be renewed indefinitely for successive 10-year periods upon payment of fees.

2. Patent

A patent is a legal right granted for a substance, method, or a process that is innovative and distinctive in nature. You cannot get an Intellectual Property patent if you have already publicized your innovation. There are different application types with different features if you want to apply for a patent right in NZ. The most preferred ones are:

  • Application with provisional specification
  • Application with a complete specification
  • Paris convention specification
  • Divisional application

The documents required to file a patent application in New Zealand are:

  • Full name, address and nationality of each applicant
  • If the applicant is not the inventor, an explanation of how the applicant obtained entitlement to the invention from the inventor
  • Full specification (including claims and drawings) and abstract in English
  • Particulars of each basic application (for Convention applications)
  • If the application claims Conventional priority from a basic application: confirmation that the NZ applicant is the applicant of the basic application, or if not, confirmation that the NZ applicant has derived from the applicant of the basic application the right to claim priority from the basic application
  • Filing fee

It takes a minimum 6 months to acquire the patent right and once the applicant gets the right they can hold on for the same for the next 20 years.

3. Design

A design can be a shape, structure, pattern, or configuration which gives a unique appearance to the product. It basically protects the visual design of your product. Following are the steps to apply for Design rights in NZ:

  • File an application. Note that the application must meet the legal requirements
  • Within 15 days of filing the application, the authority will examine the design and issue a report to the applicant
  • You will receive an Examination Complete report if the design is approved
  • If there are any problems in the design as mentioned by the authority in the report, you need to address the same
  • After you have received an Examination Complete report, and any postponement of registration has expired, then the Registrar issues a Certificate of Registration
  • The registration is made public by advertising it in the official monthly journal

Once you get the legal rights over your design it can be protected up to 15 years.

4. Copyright

It refers to the exclusive rights given to the owner of any literary or artistic work like book, drawing, films, and sound recording. In New Zealand Intellectual Property law, copyright is an automatic right that takes effect as soon as an original work is created, published or performed. Therefore, there isn’t any specific copyright registration process. It can be protected for up to 50 years after your death, depending on the type of work.

5. Plant Variety Right

It gives an exclusive right to produce for sale and to sell propagating material of a plant variety. New Zealand has strict quarantine requirements. In most cases, plants imported into New Zealand will be required to undergo inspection. It is therefore important for intending applicants to import specimens into New Zealand as early as possible. The rights can be obtained for all varieties except algae and bacteria. Plant varieties can be protected for a period up to 23 years for woody plants and 20 years for all other plants.

6. Geographical Indication

The sign used on wines and spirits from a specific geographical location which possess a quality, reputation, or other characteristics linked to that location. Once an individual applies for a GI, the application will be examined in accordance with the Geographical Indication Registration Act 2006 and its regulations. A notice of acceptance and the GI will be advertised in the Journal if it meets the criteria. The registration of GI is effective for 5 years from the date of registration after which it can be renewed for the next 10 years.

7. Other IPs in New Zealand

IPONZ also grants and registers the following IPs:

  • Domain Name Registration
  • Company Name Registration
  • Trade Secret

Benefits of Availing Intellectual Property Services in New Zealand

  • Ability to have competitive edge over other similar business in NZ
  • Having an IP enhances the value of a company
  • Greater export opportunities
  • Easy way of obtaining finance for the company
  • IP helps market the product and services of the company

Fee Structure of Intellectual Property in New Zealand

1. Breakdown of Trademark Fee

Particulars Cost in NZ$ (excluding GST of 15%)
Request to search 40
Application 150
Renewal 350
Application for revocation of registration of Trademark 350

2. Breakdown of Patent Fee

Particulars Cost in NZ$ (excluding GST of 15%)
Provisional specification 100
Complete specification 250
Convention 250
Renewal till 9th year 100
Late payment penalty 50

3. Breakdown of Design Fee

Particulars Cost in NZ$ (excluding GST of 15%)
Application for registration 100
First renewal (5 years) 100
Second renewal (third period of 5 years) 200
Notice of opposition by opponent 300

4. Breakdown of Plant Variety Fee

Particulars Cost in NZ$ (excluding GST of 15%)
Application of grant 500
Examination of data 600
Renewal fee 160

Business Setup Worldwide Intellectual Property Protection Services in New Zealand

At Business Setup Worldwide, we offer a complete range of Intellectual property services that aims to tackle any possible infringement and protect your creative work. The following is our scope of services:

  • Patent Act 2013
  • Trademark Act 2002
  • Trade secret Protection
  • Protection of Plant Variety Act
  • The Geographical Indications (Wines and Spirits) Registration Act 2006
  • Copyright registration service

Why Us?

We at Business Setup Worldwide carefully monitor the global IP movements. Intellectual Property Law in NZ can be complicated for businesses that do not have in-depth knowledge of the same. Our competent Intellectual Property Consultants leverage their knowledge to provide the direction and assistance to our clients. We help our clients in clearing all the legal proceedings that are essential to establish business foundations, protect intellectual properties, taxation policies, etc. Our team in New Zealand will enable comprehensive global protection of your valuable IP assets.


1. Can anyone apply for intellectual property registration online?

Yes, through the online portal.

2. Which law governs the intellectual property services in NZ?

The Trade Marks Act 2002 and the Patents Act 2013.

3. What sections does the intellectual property include?

Literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, sound recordings and films, broadcasts
Performances of performing artists
Inventions in all fields of human endeavor
Industrial designs
Trademarks, service marks and commercial names and designations.