New Patents Bill tightens up on patents process

The Patents Bill was introduced to Parliament on 9 July, and will replace the Patents Act 1953.

The purpose of the new Bill is to update New Zealand’s patent regime to ensure that it continues to provide an appropriate balance between providing adequate incentives for innovation and technology transfer while ensuring that the interests of the New Zealand public are safeguarded.

At present, the examination process under the Patents Act 1953 is less strict than in most other countries and in many cases had led to patents being granted that are broader in scope than patents granted on the same applications in other countries.

To address this issue the new Bill will provide NZ Examiners to consider the ground of inventive step during the examination of the application on a basis similar to that currently adopted in Australia.

The new Bill also contains measures that will assist in protecting the interests of Maori in their traditional knowledge and indigenous plants and animals and will reform the regulatory regime for the Patent Attorney profession.