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'Maori Made' Trade Mark Has Limitations


19 July, 2001

'Maori Made' Trade Mark Has Limitations

John Hackett, intellectual property lawyer at A J Park, says Creative New Zealand is probably mistaken if they think they can claim exclusivity to the words 'Maori Made' through a trade mark.

Creative New Zealand has developed a Maori trade mark with the words 'Maori Made', in order to stop Maori imagery being ripped off and to allow overseas tourists and New Zealanders to identify authentic indigenous artworks.

John Hackett says while Creative New Zealand could register the words 'Maori Made' as a trade mark if it is accompanied by a logo, they probably will not be able stop any one else using the words 'Maori Made', because it is a descriptive term.

"If Creative New Zealand were able to register the words 'Maori Made' as a trade mark, that would mean that no other Maori iwi or group would be able to use the words without the approval of Creative New Zealand. In our view the words 'Maori Made' will not be able to be registered as a trade mark, just as it is impossible to trade mark the words 'New Zealand Made'.

John Hackett questions whether this initiative will achieve the objective of Creative New Zealand. "It is possible that Creative New Zealand is pushing for an intellectual property solution, when what they really need is a branding and marketing solution."

John Hackett says before any organisation goes down the path of spending time and money on these sorts of ideas they are well advised to seek expert opinion on exactly what can be achieved through intellectual property protection and where there are limitations.

ENDS

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