Trade marks can include words, logos, colours, shapes, sounds, smells – or any combination of these.
Once a trade mark is registered, the ®symbol may be used to show that it is protected.
A trade mark enables businesses to distinguish their products or services from similar products or services offered by competitors. The main purpose is to create a distinctive and preferably memorable brand that customers associate with quality products or services.
Trade mark registration and protection
Find out about New Zealand trade mark registration and protection on the IPONZ website.
International trade mark treaties
New Zealand is a party to the World Trade Organisation's Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS), which requires member states to have a trade mark registration system and provide minimum levels of protection for trade marks.
New Zealand is also a party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, which is administered by World Intellectual Property Organization.
Amendments were made to the Trade Marks Act in 2011 to facilitate New Zealand ratifying the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks (the Singapore Treaty) and joining Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks (the Madrid Protocol) and the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purpose of Registration of Marks (Nice Agreement).
On September 10, 2012 New Zealand deposited the Instrument of Accession to the Madrid Protocol and the Ratification of the Singapore Treaty with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
The Madrid Protocol and the Singapore Treaty will enter into force in New Zealand on 10 December 2012.
This means from 10 December 2012 New Zealand businesses will be able to file a single application directly with IPONZ and designate one or more overseas countries where protection is sought.
- Cabinet Paper: Trade Marks Regulations 2003: Amendments [414 KB PDF]
- Regulatory Impact Statement: Trade Marks Amendment Regulations 2012 [251 KB PDF]
- Cabinet Paper: Trade Marks Act 2002 – Miscellaneous Issues
- Cabinet Paper: International Trade Mark Treaties Paper A, Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks [126 KB PDF]
- Cabinet Paper: International Trade Mark Treaties Paper B, Accession to the Madrid Protocol and the Nice Agreement [156 KB PDF]