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A trade mark is a sign which distinguishes one person's goods or services from those of others. The trade mark must be capable of being represented graphically and may comprise a brand, colour, device, heading, label, letter, name, numeral, shape, signature, smell, sound, taste, ticket, word or combination thereof.
New Zealand adheres to the Nice Classification of goods and services and marks comprising figurative elements are classified according to the Vienna Classification. New Zealand is also signatory of the Paris Convention.
It is not essential to have used the mark in New Zealand to obtain registration of the mark or to renew the registration. However, if the mark is not considered to possess sufficient distinctiveness, use over a period of time in New Zealand may assist in achieving registration of the mark.
Subject to the necessary renewal fees being paid, a trade mark can be kept in force indefinitely. However, at the time of filing the application, the applicant must have an intention to use the mark in New Zealand. If the trade mark is not used for a continuous period of three years then it may be vulnerable to removal from the Register at the action of a third party.
A registered trade mark gives the trade mark owner the exclusive right to use that mark and to license other parties to use that mark. Any person who uses the mark without the authority of the registered owner may infringe the registration and such infringing use may be prohibited by the courts.
It is also possible to register Certification and Collective trade marks in New Zealand.
Rights to a trade mark may exist at Common Law through use. Therefore, even if the mark is deemed unregistrable, rights can be acquired through use.
We can assist you with the following:
- pre-registration searches and advice
- preparation, filing and prosecution of New Zealand and foreign applications
- oppositions to registration of trade marks and defending oppositions by third parties
- revocation proceedings, commencement and defence thereof
- preparation, advice on and recordal of assignments and licences
- renewals and restorations
- advice on protection and use of trade marks
- infringement avoidance and defence advice
- enforcement of statutory and related Common Law rights
- surveillance services
- border protection
- domain name registration