Trademark Search in New Zealand

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Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a time frame for filing for a trademark registration?

The approximate time frame is 7 to 8 months for applications without opponents. In cases where third parties are opposing the application, the time frame is longer.

If I register my trademark in New Zealand, do I have protection in other territories?

The territorial limit of registration is New Zealand and Tokelau. The law does not specify whether protection is also extended to Niue and/or the Cook Islands. Consult a trademark attorney for clarifications.

Do I need to sign a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is not required when filing an application. However, it will be necessary in case of change of attorney.

Are there any benefits from a pre-filing use of the trademark?
  • pre-filing use may demonstrate acquired distinctiveness
  • pre-filing use may help overcome an objection to a trademark application on the grounds of non-distinctiveness
  • the first person to use a mark has the ultimate right to such mark, even if another subsequently registers it
Will there be problems in case I don’t use my trademark after registration?

Attack on the ground of non-use is available.

What are the types of trademark that can be registered in New Zealand?
  • words
  • names
  • devices
  • certain three-dimensional shapes
  • colours
  • slogans
  • sounds
  • smells
  • trade dress/get-up
  • holograms
  • motion
  • taste
  • touch
  • collective marks
  • certification marks
  • well-known marks
  • service marks
  • series marks

 

Note: Trademarks can include many things; the list above is not exhaustive.

What are the phases of application after a trademark has been filed in New Zealand?

The order of the application process is as follows:

  1. Examination of the trademark application according to the following:
    • formalities
    • classification
    • clarity
    • descriptiveness
    • distinctiveness
    • deceptiveness
    • conflict with prior registration
    • a consideration if the mark or use of the mark is offensive to a major section of the community such as the Maori people
    • bad faith
  2. Publication of the following application particulars:
    • application date
    • mark
    • application number
    • name of applicant
    • citizenship of applicant
    • state or country of incorporation of applicant
    • address of applicant
    • priority claim information
    • goods/services
    • representation of trademark
    • local address for service
  3. Registration
What type of trademark is not registrable?
  • marks that are against moral standards or public order
  • generic terms
  • flags, names or symbols of nations, states, regions, or of international organizations
  • non-distinctive trademarks
  • marks that function primarily as surnames
  • marks that function primarily as geographic location names
  • other prohibited names including:
    • various chemical and pharmaceutical names
    • plant variety names
    • the word "police"
    • etcetera
Does New Zealand use the "Nice Classification" system?

Nice Classification System is effective in New Zealand.

Does the Community Trademark apply for New Zealand?

The European Union Trade Mark, formerly known as the Community Trade Mark, registration is not effective in New Zealand.

Is there any possibility to claim priority in New Zealand?

Applicants may claim priority if:

 

  • if the applicant's home country is a member of the Paris Convention
  • if the first application was filed in a country that is a party to the Paris Convention (not necessarily the applicant’s home country)
  • if the first application was filed within six months prior to the application in new Zealand
  • if New Zealand has a bilateral agreement with the country where the first application was filed such as Singapore and Taiwan
What do I need to do to satisfy the use requirement?

A trademark must be used within three years from the registration date.

 

The amount of use must be genuine and not merely token. Use of the trademark must occur in New Zealand.

Once my trademark has been registered, for how many years will be valid?

The initial term of a registration is 10 years calculated from the application date or the priority date.

What will be the renewal date of my trademark?

The first renewal date must be filed 10 years from the application filing date or from the priority date, whichever is earlier.

Is it legal to use my trademark even if it is not yet registered?

Using an unregistered mark for any goods or services is legal.

Does having a registered trademark in New Zealand give me any right?

New Zealand follows the "first to use" rule. Registration is not necessary to secure ownership to a trademark. Prior use is enough to establish rights.

What is the web address of the trademark national office?

The national office is accessible online at the following URL: www.iponz.govt.nz.

Is there any need to use my trademark before I apply for registration?

Applicants are required to have actual use of the mark or at least have an intention to use the mark prior to filing the application.

Can a Trademark Application be opposed?

The following can be grounds for opposition:

  • proprietary rights
  • breach of copyright
  • notorious or well-known mark
  • the mark is descriptive
  • the mark is misleading, deceptive or disparaging
  • registered design rights
  • the mark is not distinctive
  • registration in the name of the agent or other representative of the proprietor of the mark
  • the mark is generic
  • rights in a personal name
  • unauthorized use of protected emblems or national insignia
  • prior reputation in New Zealand for the trademark or business/company name
  • the use or registration of the mark is offensive to a significant section of the community including Māori people
Who can contest my trademark application?

Anyone may oppose an application.

Is it possible to cancel a registration?

The following can be grounds for cancellation:

  • the mark is descriptive
  • the mark is misleading, deceptive or disparaging
  • the mark is not distinctive
  • the mark is generic
  • the mark is functional
  • protection of armorial bearings, flags and other State emblems
  • the mark is against public policy or principles of morality
  • the mark consists of a geographical indication
  • the mark is used in a misleading manner
  • the mark includes a badge or emblem of particular public interest
  • the application for or registration of the mark was made in bad faith
  • the mark is prohibited in this jurisdiction
  • Section VIII.A. Use Requirements

 

Note: There are other grounds for cancellation. Please contact Marcaria or consult a local trademark attorney.

Are there any rights established by having a registered trademark?

The following rights are established by registration:

  • the exclusive right to use the registered trademark
  • the right to license other third parties to use the trademark
  • the right to object to later conflicting applications
  • the right to request for a cancellation action against a later conflicting registration
  • the right to sue for infringement against confusingly similar third-party trademark use
  • the right to obtain damages for infringement
  • the right to apply for seizure by customs authorities for importation of counterfeit goods
How long is the opposition period?

The opposition period begins on the date the acceptance is advertised in the official journal.

 

The opposition period ends three months from the date the acceptance is advertised in the official journal.

Is New Zealand a member of the Madrid System?

New Zealand is a party to the Madrid Protocol. However, it is not a signatory of the Madrid Agreement and an international registration cannot be designated in this jurisdiction.

Do I need to present periodic statement of use?

Periodic statements of use are not required.

When should I renew my trademark?

Subsequent renewals last for a period of 10 years from the renewal date of the registration.

What will be the renewal date of my trademark?

The first renewal date must be filed 10 years from the application filing date or from the priority date, whichever is earlier.

Is there any documentation that should be presented when renewing a trademark?

None. No document is required when renewing a trademark registration.

If my trademark expires, do I have a grace period?

The grace period after the renewal date has expired is 12 months.

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