New Zealand patent law provides a system for the filing, examination, and grant of protection for patent applications. To be granted, a patent application must meet the definition of “invention”. This requires that the proposed invention:

(a) be a manner of manufacture;

(b) be new; and

(c) involve an inventive step.

The period of protection for patents in New Zealand is a maximum of 20 years. The Patents Act 2013 updated New Zealand’s previously outdated patent law and brought it into line with international trends.

Under the Patents Act, patentability is examined in accordance with absolute (or worldwide) novelty, instead of the previous “local novelty” standard. Both inventive step and utility are examined. Pre-grant opposition processes are available at any time before grant, and a potential opponent can request re-examination both before and after grant. A patent must be inventive “on the balance of probabilities”.

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