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The New Patent Law in New Zealand

The New Patent Law in New Zealand

3 years ago


April 1, 2014

A new patent statute (Patents Act 2013) will take effect in New Zealand on September 13, 2014.

From that date forward, applications filed in New Zealand will be examined for inventive step of their claimed subject matter.  This is a change from the local novelty standard as the limited criterion for patentability. In addition, the novelty standard itself has been expanded to require worldwide absolute novelty.

Under the new statute, it will be necessary to affirmatively request examination of the application. Thus, substantive review of the application will not take place until such examination request is filed in the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand.

The new statute replaces the Patents Act 1953 and introduces a number of exclusions to the subject matter that will be reviewed for grant of New Zealand patents, including

  • Inventions whose commercial exploitation is contrary to      "public order" or morality;
  • Computer programs as such;
  • Plant varieties;
  • Human beings and biological processes for their generation;
  • Methods of treatment of human beings by surgery or therapy; and
  • Methods of diagnosis practiced on human beings.

The new statute introduces a re-examination procedure, and imposes annual schedules for patent renewal fees.

The statute is available online at http://www.iponz.govt.nz. Regulations are currently being prepared for implementation of the new law.

Steven J. Hultquist


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