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Trade Marks Legislation Passed

22 November 2002 Media Statement

Trade Marks Legislation Passed

A new Trade Marks Act was passed by Parliament today, substantially updating New Zealand’s trade marks legislation.

Associate Minister of Commerce Judith Tizard said she was pleased to see this important intellectual property statute passed.

“The Act is the first comprehensive update of trade marks law since the Trade Marks Act 1953 was passed. It will ensure that New Zealand has a system of trade mark protection that is modern, efficient and cost-effective.”

The new Trade Marks Act:

- defines the scope of rights protected by trade marks more clearly;
- simplifies and streamlines processes for registering a trade mark;
- introduces some measures to address concerns of Maori over inappropriate registration of Maori text and imagery as trade marks;
- introduces new measures to deter pirating of copyright works and counterfeiting of trade marks;
- strengthens protection for well-known trade marks.

“The Act has been subject today to a number of misrepresentations and confusion from National MPs about the protections it will provide to trade mark owners of well known brands and the measures which have been put in place to deal appropriately with the proposed registration of Maori signs as trade marks. It is disappointing that these important aspects of the Act have been misunderstood.

“The Act is the culmination of a long process of review and consultation with interested parties. It forms part of a wider programme of intellectual property law reform being undertaken by the government.

“This reform programme includes reviews of the Patents Act 1953 and Plant Variety Rights Act 1987, the implications of digital technology for the Copyright Act 1994 and some changes to be introduced as soon as possible on the parallel importation of films”.

“This programme of reform will ensure that New Zealand’s intellectual property law helps to support the government’s goals of promoting innovation and economic growth.”

For more information, the Minister’s 2nd and 3rd reading speeches are available at www.beehive.govt.nz


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