New Zealand Patents

General Information

DeadlineWhen a deadline falls due on a weekend or holiday, you may file by the next working day after the deadline without any loss of rights.
ApplicantInventor(s) or the assignee of the inventor(s); the assignee may be individual(s) or a company. Two or more parties may apply jointly.
PublicationPatent specifications and any documents filed in support of the application which are not subject to legal privilege are open to public inspection 18 months from the priority date.
Third-party ObservationsAssertions by third parties as to the lack of novelty and/or inventive step of the invention may be filed at the Patent Office at any time between publication and the acceptance of the application.
ExaminationMay be requested at any time, but must be requested either within five years from the date of filing of the complete specification in New Zealand/International Filing Date for a PCT application, or within two months of the Patent Office issuing a direction for examination, whichever date is the earlier.
Re-examinationThe application/patent can be re-examined on the request of any party, or on the initiative of the Patent Office, at any time after the acceptance of the application.
AcceptanceThe application must be in order for acceptance within 12 months of the date of issue of the first examination report. This date cannot be extended except by reason of delay in the Patent Office.
OppositionMust be filed within three months of the publication of acceptance of the application; this period can be extended by one month without the applicant's consent, or by two months with the applicant's consent.
Term20 years from the date of filing of the complete specification or from the International Filing Date in the case of PCT applications, subject to the payment of maintenance/renewal fees.
Maintenance/renewal FeesTo maintain either a pending application or a granted patent, annual maintenance fees must be paid from the fourth anniversary of the filing of the complete specification (or from the International Filing Date in the case of PCT applications). The grace period is 6 months, subject to an additional fee.
Not Patentable
  • Computer programmes "as such", but hardware programmed to operate in accordance with computer programmes may be patentable.
  • Plant varieties (these are protected under the Plant Varieties Act).
  • Inventions contrary to public order or morality (for example cloning human beings/industrial commercial use of human embryos).
  • Methods of medical/surgical/diagnostic treatment of human beings when performed on the human body (veterinary equivalents are patentable).
NoveltyAbsolute novelty i.e. novel with respect to the "prior art base" which is anything which has been made available to the public in any form, anywhere in the world, before the priority date, subject to the following exceptions:
  • Disclosure within one year prior to the filing date, if the disclosure was a result of matter obtained unlawfully or in breach of confidence from the inventor or a person who had been advised of the invention by the inventor, in confidence.
  • Communication to a New Zealand Government Department within one year prior to the filing date.
  • Public working within one year of the filing date by the patentee or a person authorised by the patentee, providing the working was for the purpose of reasonable trial and the nature of the invention was such that it was reasonably necessary for the working to be in public.
  • Display/use with the consent of the inventor at an exhibition publicly notified to be an international/industrial exhibition by the Commissioner, and any consequent publication or use, providing the patent application is filed within six months.
  • Secret use in New Zealand before the priority date, where the use was authorised directly or indirectly by the patentee/applicant, for the purpose of reasonable trial or experiment or by a New Zealand Government Department or a person authorised by a New Zealand Government Department or by any other person to whom the invention had been communicated by the patentee/applicant in confidence, as a result of a breach of confidence by that person.
Inventive StepApplications are examined for inventive step/obviousness compared to the prior art base.
Deposit of Micro-organismsA sample of the microorganism must be deposited with a prescribed depository institution in accordance with the Budapest Regulations on or before the filing date of the specification. A receipt for the deposit from a prescribed depository institution must be provided to the Patent Office within three months of the deposit date.
MarkingNot compulsory, but failure to do so is likely to affect the ability to claim damages or an account of profits for any infringement. Recommended marking: "NZ Pat" followed by the number of the patent.
Patents of AdditionAre available.

 

Filing Requirements — Non-PCT

Minimum Requirements for Filing Date:

1. ApplicantFull legal name, nationality and address.
2. SpecificationEnglish language only: description, claims and sequence listings, preferably in editable (Microsoft Word 2010 compatible) format (.doc, .docx or .txt). A fee applies for creating the required document from noneditable files.
3. AbstractA concise summary of the invention, indicating the technical field of the invention and the problems solved by the invention. May be accompanied by a single figure of the drawings. The abstract does not form part of the specification.
4. DrawingsPreferably PDF format.
5. (If applicable)Convention priority country, date and application number.

Additional Formal Requirements:

6. Information
  1. Inventor(s) — full legal name and address.
  2. Priority applicant (if different) — full legal name, nationality and address
  3. Transfer of rights — from inventors (and priority applicant if different) — statement of employment or date of assignment.
7. Request for ExaminationThis may be requested at the time of filing the application (recommended, and much lower cost), or at any time up to the 5th anniversary of the New Zealand filing date (International filing date for PCT applications). Examination must be requested within 2 months of an official Direction to request examination.
8. Priority DocumentOnly if requested by Patent Office:
  • Scanned Convention Priority document
  • Scanned verified English translation (if applicable)

 

Filing Requirements — PCT NZ National Phase

Minimum Requirements for Filing Date:

1. PCT Application Number
2. Applicant (if different)Full legal name, nationality and address.
3. SpecificationEnglish language only: description, claims and sequence listings, preferably in editable (Microsoft Word 2010 compatible) format (.doc, .docx or .txt). Must include any amendments under Art. 19 or 34. A fee applies for creating the required document from non-editable files.
4. AbstractPCT abstract will be used. The abstract does not form part of the specification.
5. DrawingsPreferably PDF format.

Additional Formal Requirements:

6. Information
  1. Priority applicant (if different) — full legal name, nationality and address
  2. Transfer of rights — from inventors (and priority applicant if different) — statement of employment or date of assignment.
7. Request for Examinationthis may be requested at the time of filing the application (recommended, and much lower cost), or at any time up to the 5th anniversary of the New Zealand filing date (International filing date for PCT applications). Examination must be requested within 2 months of an official Direction to request examination.
8. Translation (if applicable)Scanned verified English translation of PCT pamphlet and any amendments made (Article 19 or Article 34)
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