Changes to New Zealand trade mark practice
The Intellectual Properly Oflîce of New Zealand (IPONZ) has recently implemented a number of changes to trade mark practice, which benefit Australian IP lawyers or trade mark attorneys practicing trade mark law in NZ.
Harmonisation trial IPONZ and IP Australia are now operating a voluntary trial as part of their combined effort to increase harmonisation of trade mark examination practice in the respective offices. Essentially, from 1 February 2010 any applicant who has filed a trade mark in either Australia or NZ and subsequently files the application for the same mark in the other country can opt to participate in the trial. This trial will attempt to align examination decision-making and operational practices between IPONZ and IP Australia. It is hoped that greater consistency between trade mark examination in Australia and NZ should provide greater consumer satisfaction due lo increased consistency, quality and predictability of trade mark examination.
IPONZ search database
In February 2010, IPONZ updated its Search database so that its search results now provide thumbnails of any images or representations contained in a stylised trade mark or device mark. These “thumbnails” will now show up in Search results, which should make trade mark searching in NZ much easier.
IPONZ – IP history display
IPONZ customers can now view and download correspondence relating to their client’s trade mark applications, including copies of the IPONZ examination reports, submissions lodged in relation to those reports and other information. IPONZ’s Customers will necd L0 register with IPONZ to use this service, which is restricted to accessing applications for which the customer is registered as the address for service.