12 Sep New Zealand’s ‘Patent Act 2013’ is now in full effect.

This modernised review of patent legislation is a real effort to align patent action in New Zealand with that of common procedures worldwide. The previous legislation in practise was established over 60 years ago just following the second world war and as you can imagine, it was designed for a different time entirely, so although the demands of patent holders, innovation and global market have evolved dramatically, the legislation has until this day, remained the same.

Problematic features of such an undeveloped piece of legislations consisted of obligations on the Patent Office’s behalf to accept applications which were in the same vein as existing technologies. These features made an awful lot of sense back in the day when ‘local novelty’ recognised the role of an ‘importer’ being just as important as the true inventor and it still makes some sort of sense in undeveloped countries today but what this dated principal enabled in a modern, progressed society was imitation over innovation.

The ‘Patent Act 2013’ is actually a momentous occasion for innovators in New Zealand, offering a truly modern protection for their inventions.

Here’s a quick overview of the subtle but important changes the new legislation brings:

  • The new patents act implements an ‘absolute novelty’ standard when it comes to invention which replaces the relative novelty criteria designed for somewhat of a closed market economy.
  • IPONZ will now have the ability to examine applications in order to ensure inventive step over existing inventions which protects both patentees and businesses alike.
  • Publication of patent applications will now come into play 18 months following the filings which will assist innovators in shaping their applications and protect holders from potential infringements.
  • With this new patent act comes the responsibility for drafting regulations with regards to the patentability of embedded software.