Changes to the New Zealand Patents Act came into force on 13 September 2014. New features of the law include:
• Examination for absolute novelty, inventiveness, and utility;
• Third party assertions on novelty and inventiveness prior to acceptance;
• Re-examination of granted patents can be initiated by a third party;
• Publication of applications 18 months from earliest priority; and
• Increased time periods for evidentiary rounds in post-acceptance proceedings.
Many of the more significant of these new features bring New Zealand law into line with that of many other countries, including the UK and other European countries. In general, the new law will mean that the threshold for patentability in New Zealand is higher than was previously the case, but no higher than we are accustomed to in Europe and elsewhere.