Trademark Registration in New Zealand and What You Need to Know

When it comes to trademarking many people think that it’s as easy as using the trademark symbol on all print material and online media, however there’s more to the trademarking process that you should know. Here we address some common questions:

Do I have to register a trademark?

While you do not have to register your trademark, by doing so you are protecting your brand nationally against competitors using the same or similar mark to your trade mark, and the details of the registration are publicly available on a searchable database. Trade mark registration allows you the exclusive right to use your trademark throughout New Zealand.

Is it only words or logos that can be trademarked?

As long as the item can be represented graphically you can trademark anything that is distinctive including words, numbers, symbols, phrases, logos, shapes and even colours.

What’s the difference between ™ and ®?

The ® symbol identifies a trademark that is registered, whereas the™ symbol can be used at any time.

How long does it take for a trademark to be registered?

Approximately six months overall, provided that your application is filed correctly and there are no issues along the way.

Once my trademark is registered does it then last forever?

Trademark registrations need to be renewed every ten years. This incurs a fee payable to IPONZ, however it is important to ensure that you do so if you want to keep your trademark.

Something else to bear in mind is that if you don’t use your trade mark in New Zealand for three years (or it becomes a generic term) it can actually be cancelled.

If I register my trademark in New Zealand, am I covered overseas?

If you register your trademark in New Zealand it doesn’t mean that you can use this on the products you sell overseas, as that trademark may well be registered by someone else in another country. You should register your trade mark in each country where you plan to conduct business.

If you are worried about how to file your trademark application, you should look at using a specialist in the field of intellectual property, that way they can ensure that the process is not only correct but simple and cost-effective too. There are some great tools supplied by intellectual property specialists online, to assist you with the process – take a look today!