The New Zealand government have announced that they have now approved a proposal that will result in the streamlining of patent applications filed in both countries.
New Zealand and Australia and of course very close trading partners, despite the sporting rivalry, and a great number of patent applicants file patent applications in both Australia and New Zealand, resulting in two separate examination process. However, there is some significant similarity between the patent laws for both countries (and some differences of course) and the prospect of having a single application and examination process is attractive as it would hopefully lower costs and reduce time frames.
The process that is envisaged by the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) is that at the filing stage of either a NZ or AU patent application it would be possible to selected filing simultaneously in both countries. During examination, a single examiner would then review the patent application taking into account the respective patent laws of both NZ and AU (remember the differences!) and report accordingly.
Ultimately, on proceeding through to acceptance/grant, a separate patent would then issue from NZ and AU.
This is good news for applicants considering filing in both AU and NZ, hopefully lower filing costs and lower costs during examination.
More news on this later, but don’t hold your breath, we don’t expect it to actually be an operable system for a few years.
Not sure if this will help Australia’s hopes for the Bledisloe Cup next year though after losing the series in a whitewash (3-0).