Update on Single Economic Market (SEM) patents outcomes

14 October 2016

The New Zealand Government has agreed not to continue with the proposed single application and examination processes for patents (SAP and SEP), following recommendation  by the New Zealand Parliament’s Commerce Committee in July this year. The Patents (Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys and Other Matters) Bill, currently before New Zealand Parliament, was amended on 13 October to remove the SAP and SEP outcomes. Since SAP and SEP require enabling legislation in both countries to be possible, they will not now be able to take place.

IP Australia undertook these initiatives based on early indications of real benefits for applicants and our offices. These benefits included reduced costs and prosecution time for patent applications. We understand that in making its decision, the Committee considered the financial and resourcing impacts that SAP and SEP would have on the New Zealand Government. IP Australia respects the New Zealand Government’s decision, and as a result IP Australia has ceased work on the SAP and SEP initiatives.

The New Zealand Parliament is continuing to progress the remaining SEM measure in the Bill that will allow for a single trans-Tasman patent attorney regime, which is expected to commence in February 2017.