New Zealand trademarks can include many things such as words, names, devices, certain 3D shapes, colours, slogans, sounds, smells, trade dress/get-up, holograms, motion, taste, touch, collective marks, certification marks, well-known marks, service marks, and series marks, etc. However, the following type of trademark is not registrable:
- marks that are against moral standards or public order
- generic terms
- flags, names or symbols of nations, states, regions, or of international organizations
- non-distinctive trademarks
- marks that function primarily as surnames
- marks that function primarily as geographic location names
- other prohibited names including: various chemical and pharmaceutical names, plant variety names, the word “police”, etc.
New Zealand is a “first to use” country. It means your unregistered trademark will be protected in some degree if your trademark is used in the country. However, registering your New Zealand trademark allows you to take legal action against anyone who uses your brand without your permission, including counterfeiters. You may license your brand and put the ® symbol next to your brand to warn others against using it. New Zealand trademark registration is valid for 10 years starting from the filing date. The territorial limit of registration is New Zealand and Tokelau.
Applicants may claim priority if:
- the applicant’s home country is a member of the Paris Convention
- the first application was filed in a country that is a party to the Paris Convention (not necessarily the applicant’s home country)
- the first application was filed within six months prior to the application in new Zealand
- New Zealand has a bilateral agreement with the country where the first application was filed such as Singapore and Taiwan
Duration of Application: 12 months (if no objections or oppositions arise)
Mark Validity: 10 years calculated from the application date or the priority date.
Mark Renewal: The first renewal date must be filed 10 years from the application filing date or from the priority date, whichever is earlier.
Mark Cancellation: A trademark must be used within three years from the registration date.