Managing IP is part of the Delinian Group, Delinian Limited, 4 Bouverie Street, London, EC4Y 8AX, Registered in England & Wales, Company number 00954730
Copyright © Delinian Limited and its affiliated companies 2023

Accessibility | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Modern Slavery Statement

New Zealand: TPP will bring laws in line with Australia

After many years of negotiation, agreement has been reached on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. The free trade agreement between 12 countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam – is intended to liberalise trade between the regions while setting out consistent rules that make it easier for participating countries to do business.

New Zealand and Australia were early signatories to the talks, with other countries entering over the years of negotiation. Further countries are expected to sign up in the future.

Intellectual property provisions made up a small proportion of the issues negotiated, but were among the most significant for New Zealand, which has relatively low import tariffs already. Apart from concerns that the government's pharmaceutical purchasing agency Pharmac would be compromised, proposed changes to the patent system led many to expect a rise in pharmaceutical costs under the TPP.

Similar concerns were raised in Australia, which spearheaded opposition to proposed increases in data exclusivity periods. TPP will not require any changes to Australia's IP laws at all. Australia's five years of data protection for biological medicines will remain unchanged and it already has patent term extension and a life of the author plus 70 years copyright term.

Sensible debate was not aided by the media's reporting of these issues, repeatedly confusing the concepts of patent term, patent term extension and data exclusivity periods, as well as misunderstanding the implications of copyright extension.

We will need to wait until details of the agreement are published, but various sources suggest that patent term extensions must be made available for pharmaceuticals experiencing regulatory delays. The New Zealand government release says New Zealand "will have to extend the term of a particular pharmaceutical patent if there are unreasonable delays in examining the patent or getting regulatory approval. New Zealand's processes are efficient, however, so very few patent term extensions are expected, based on current practice, and only in exceptional circumstances." Although it may be rarely used, this is a potentially important change for holders of New Zealand patents but will not affect Australia, which already offers such extensions. Data exclusivity (at present five years in both Australia and New Zealand) seems unaffected.

On the trade mark front, the agreement provides safeguards to protect geographical indications. We don't yet have details of how that might look in practice.

Another new IP provision that will affect New Zealand is extension of copyright from 50 to 70 years from the death of the author (and from 50 years to 70 years from release for films or music recordings). The government estimates this to cost the country NZ$55 million ($38 million) a year in the "very long term", but that figure seems high. Not many copyright works are still being heavily commercialised in New Zealand 50 years after the author's death. Again, Australia already has a 70-year copyright term.

We will provide more information on the expected changes to New Zealand and Australia when details emerge.


Damian Broadley

Jo Shaw

AJ Park

Level 22, State Insurance Tower

1 Willis Street, Wellington 6011

New Zealand

Tel: +64 4 473 8278

Fax: +64 4 472 3358 

more from across site and ros bottom lb

More from across our site

Civil society and industry representatives met in Geneva on Thursday, September 28 to discuss a potential expansion of the TRIPS waiver
Sources say the beta version of the USPTO’s new trademark search tool is a big improvement over the current system but that it isn’t perfect
Canadian counsel weigh in on the IP office’s decision to raise trademark filing fees in 2024 and how they’re preparing clients
We provide a rundown of Managing IP’s news and analysis coverage from the week, and review what’s been happening elsewhere in IP
Shira Perlmutter, US Register of Copyrights, discussed the Copyright Office's role in forming generative AI policy during a House of Representatives hearing
The award marks one of the highest-ever damages received by a foreign company in a trademark infringement suit in China
Two orders denying public access to documents have reignited a debate over a lack of transparency at the new court
Rouse’s new chief of operations and the firm’s CEO tell Managing IP why they think private equity backing will help it conquer Europe
Brian Landry, partner at Saul Ewing, reveals how applicants can prosecute patent applications in the wake of the Federal Circuit's In re Cellect ruling
Ronelle Geldenhuys of Australia’s Foundry IP considers the implications complex computer technologies such as AI have on decision-making