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Trade Marks
Trans-Tasman trade mark harmonisation
Chris Baxter
Chris Baxter

When seeking a trade mark in both Australia and New Zealand, outcomes are generally similar at examination. Since May 2006, IP Australia and the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) have been corroborating in an ongoing initiative seeking to improve harmonisation of trade mark examination outcomes. Stage 3 of this project will commence in 1 February 2010 with a live trial involving the recognition by each Office of the trade mark examination of the other using previous examination decisions in both Offices. Further stage 3 objectives include aligning: examination decision-making (within the scope of local legislative requirements), mutually acceptable quality assurance standards and audit processes, and operational practices.

Those who wish to participate in the trial include any applicant who has filed a trade mark in one country who then files an application for the same trade mark in the other country. To facilitate the project both IP Australia and IPONZ have amended their respective trade mark application forms to include a tick box so that applicants can agree to participate in the trial, making the trial voluntary. The application form also requires that applicant consent to the disclosure of personal and examination information to IPA. In Australia, only applications filed electronically will be part of the trial, whilst in New Zealand, paper filings will also be included. There is no guarantee that the examination outcomes in both jurisdictions will be the same.

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About the author
Chris Baxter
Managing Director, Patent & Trade Mark Attorney
Chris Baxter is a Sydney patent and trade mark attorney specialising in software patents, computer patents, medical device patents and engineering patents.

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