An application for a patent in New Zealand must contain a patent order form, specifications, claims, and any necessary drawings. In addition, any portion of the specifications and priority document not in English must be accompanied by an English translation.
Patent term for patents is 20 years, and the utility model and design terms both expire 15 years from the filing date.
PCT National Stage in New Zealand
New Zealand is a member of the PCT and the Paris Convention. When application is filed as a PCT National Stage application, the national stage entry deadline is 31 months from the PCT application’s priority date. Filing power of attorney at the national stage is required, but combined authorization of agent and declaration can be filed. English translation extensions are not available. There are no fees for excess claims.
Recent IP Legal Trends in New Zealand
Currently, there is a bill sitting before the Parliament, which purports to restrict patentability of computer programs in New Zealand. While the initial proposition to distinguish embedded from non-embedded software was rejected, it is uncertain whether the Bill will pass and whether computer programs will remain patentable. According to the patent attorneys in New Zealand, this environment of uncertainty regarding future law suggests that filing computer program patent applications in New Zealand, including the national phase ones, would be a worthwhile course of action before the law changes.