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Patents are intellectual property rights that can be used to protect inventions such as articles, devices, and methods of doing things. However, not all "inventions" are eligible for patent protection, for example: computer programs ‘as such’, mathematical formulae, schemes or plans, presentations of information (e.g. forms) and methods for the medical or surgical treatment of human beings.
In New Zealand for a patent to be granted in respect of an invention, it must be novel, involve an inventive step, and be useful. In order to be considered novel, the invention must not be known or have been used anywhere in the world before the patent is applied for.
For an invention to involve an inventive step it must not be obvious to a person skilled in the art, having regard to any matter which forms part of the prior art base.
Published documents, e.g. Books, journals and patent specifications, and what has been used anywhere in the world all form part of the prior art base and can be taken into account to determine if an invention is novel and inventive. Therefore, it is important not to use or demonstrate a patent before the application is filed in New Zealand.
A patent can be kept in force for a period of time up to 20 years. During this time the patentee has the exclusive right to make, use and sell the patented invention. Unauthorised acts of third parties may infringe the patent. When infringement occurs the patentee can bring proceedings in the courts to have the infringement stopped and damages may be awarded as compensation.
New Zealand is a signatory of the Patents Cooperation Treaty and thus it is possible to enter the National Phase for New Zealand if New Zealand has been designated upon the filing of the original application.
We can assist you with the following:
- pre-registration searches and advice
- drafting of specifications and preparation of technical and patent drawings
- preparation, filing and prosecution of New Zealand and foreign applications
- oppositions to grant of patents and revocation proceedings
- preparation, advice on and recordal of assignments and licences
- renewals and restorations
- enforcement of patent rights including court proceedings
- advice on exploitation, protection and use of rights
- infringement avoidance and defence advice
- advice on related common law, statutory rights, trade secrets and confidentiality agreements