Delays in processing New Zealand Trademark IR designations

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The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) is experiencing ongoing delays in examining International Registrations (IRs) designating New Zealand. The ongoing effects of Covid-19 and the tight labor market have undoubtedly contributed to the delays.

At present, there is around 4-5 months backlog in reviewing New Zealand designations, which contrasts sharply with the 15 working day turnaround time for nationally filed trademark applications. New Zealand has one of the fastest examination times for nationally filed trademark applications.

If a trademark holder places a high priority on knowing the likely outcome of trademark protection applications, or is about to enter the New Zealand market with trademarked goods or services, opting to file for a national trademark application instead of designating via the IR route can offer greater peace of mind. If any issues arise during the review, they should be known within 15-20 business days, allowing more time to resolve potential issues.

There is also less risk that the examiner of a national application will be influenced by previous examination decisions. This can sometimes be the case when reviewing New Zealand designations when other designated jurisdictions have published denials via Madrid Monitor.

Filing national trademark applications in New Zealand, as opposed to naming through the IR system, deserves serious consideration in the current situation.

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