Summary of Design Law and Practice
New Zealand is a member of the Paris Convention (Stockholm text), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPs) Agreement, and Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Documents.
Minimum Filing Requirements:
Name and address of the applicant(s)
A set of representations of the design (drawings or photographs) showing all features of the article
A statement of Novelty (Newness and Distinctiveness)
If convention priority is claimed, the date, number and country of the basic application(s)
Term of Registered Design:
The Designs Act provides a monopoly right for up to 15 years for a registered design, subject to the payment of renewal fees at years 5 and 10.
To be registrable, a design must be novel (that is not prior published or used in New Zealand). Designs are not registrable in respect of articles which are deemed to be solely functional. They are to protect non-functional features of shape and configuration or pattern and ornament only. A Design application can be filed in respect of a "Set of Articles".
The Designs Act 1953, being a monopoly right, follows much of the general principles of the Patents Act 1953. However, there is no provision for opposition to applications for registration of designs, but following registration, application may be made to the Commissioner or to the High Court for cancellation of the registration.
The Designs Amendment Act 2010 introduced restoration provisions for lapsed designs and lapsed design applications, where the lapse of the design was unintentional and there was no undue delay in applying. Unlike the Patents Act and Trade Marks Act, the Designs Act 1953 was enacted without specific restoration provisions. While case law had held that the Act did not preclude restoration, the amendment act provides explicit restoration provisions.