New Zealand, with its remote geographical location and relatively small population, can sometimes be overlooked by patentees. However, there are compelling drivers for considering, and indeed pursuing patent protection in New Zealand.
New Zealand is consistently ranked one of the easiest countries in which to do business. It has a strong consumer culture, a deregulated labour force and economy – and through ongoing harmonisation initiatives, is closely aligned with Australia and by virtue of the CPTPP much of the Pacific Rim in respect of trade.
For patent protection, New Zealand is relatively quick, easy and low cost. Patentees are unlikely to be stuck in limbo for any significant time whilst their application is being considered; one tends to know where they stand within 6 to 12 months.
A relatively quick grant is only attractive where it’s supported by an economy that facilitates the effective exploitation of a patent right. In this respect, New Zealand offers some unique opportunities:
- The cost of obtaining patent protection in New Zealand is relatively inexpensive
- As a technology-savvy market known for its early adoption it is an effective test market for new and emerging technologies
- It is perfect for exploring alternative routes to market for a new technology
- Economies of scale dictate that New Zealand should be a relatively cost-effective test bed for patent litigation
- The time-limited facility to retain a pending divisional application enables a patentee to fine-tune the scope of its monopoly should an infringer subsequently enter the market. A divisional application may also provide scope to amend should an opposition or revocation action be initiated by a competitor
- As a gateway to Asia via free trade agreements, New Zealand has bilateral FTAs with China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, as well as multilateral agreements with the ASEAN bloc and the CPTPP countries.
Shelston IP has significant expertise in the New Zealand market, filing, prosecuting and protecting the IP rights and assets of its clients. We always apply commercial thinking and a pragmatic approach.