Trade mark changes good for business, consumers

Thursday 8 September 2011, 6:42PM
By Simon Power

Commerce Minister Simon Power today welcomed the unanimous passing of legislation that cuts compliance costs for businesses while cracking down on people who import and sell counterfeit goods.

Mr Power said the two bills, which make up the Trade Marks (International Treaties and Enforcement) Amendment Bill, are designed to cut compliance costs and make our trade marks system work better.

“The sale of counterfeit goods is a growing problem which is hurting the productivity and financial viability of businesses.

“This law sends a strong message that New Zealand is not an easy target for illicit trade in counterfeit goods and pirated works.

“It gives new powers to the Ministry of Economic Development and the Customs Service to investigate and prosecute people involved in the manufacture, importation, and sale of illegal goods.”

The bill also enables New Zealand to join three international treaties, bringing our trade marks procedures in line with international standards, and in particular closer to a single economic market with Australia.

“By joining these treaties we are clearing the way for our businesses to put their innovative ideas on the world stage.”

Joining the Madrid Protocol will open the way for New Zealand businesses to have their trade marks protected in up to 84 countries by filing one application and paying one fee. Signing up to the Nice Agreement and the Singapore Treaty better aligns New Zealand with international practice, making it easier for businesses to succeed internationally.


Madrid Protocol
Joining the Madrid Protocol provides New Zealand trade mark owners with the possibility of having their trade marks protected overseas by filing one application for registration of a trade mark with the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand, and designating one or more other countries which are also members of the Madrid Protocol where protection is sought. Overseas trade mark owners would also be able to use the Madrid Protocol to protect their trade marks in New Zealand.

Nice Agreement
The Nice Agreement provides a classification system for goods and services for the purposes of registering trade marks (the Nice Classification). Countries that are party to this agreement must apply the classification to registered trade marks, although those not party to it may still apply it. New Zealand has applied the Nice Classification to registered trade marks for many years.

Singapore Treaty
The Singapore Treaty aims to make national trade mark registration systems more user-friendly and reduce business compliance costs for trade mark owners. It does this through the simplification and international harmonisation of national registration procedures.