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The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) manages trade mark registrations, among other aspects of intellectual property. Notably, when you apply to register your trade mark there is an associated cost. However, in some cases, you may be eligible for a reduced fee for your application. Therefore, this article will explain whether you can get a discount on your trade mark application fee.

Trade Mark Rights in New Zealand

As a kind of intellectual property, trade marks protect intangible aspects of your business that are unique to you. As such, trade marks can apply to almost anything that represents your business and its goods or services, such as:

  • words;
  • shapes;
  • logos;
  • sounds;
  • colours;
  • smells; or
  • a combination of these. 

Trade marks can protect what distinguishes you in the market and differentiates you from your competition. Therefore, you will want to protect important business identifiers with trade mark rights, such as:

  • your business name;
  • your logo;
  • a slogan or phrase that represents you;
  • the names of your products; or
  • other important aspects of your brand.

For example, Tiffany & Co., the New York City jewellery company, has a registered trade mark in their distinctive blue colour, which they call “Tiffany Blue”.

When you have registered trade mark rights, you gain exclusive use of your trade mark. When you have this right, you can:

  • solely use and commercialise your trade mark;
  • control who uses your trade mark;
  • prevent others from using or commercialising your trade mark; and
  • license your trade mark rights for ongoing fees.

Trade Mark Essentials in New Zealand

Our free Trade Mark Essentials in New Zealand guide explains how to register and defend your trade mark registration.

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The Application Process

To gain registered trade mark rights, you need to apply to the Intellectual Property Office (IPONZ). They look over your application and approve it based on whether it meets their specific criteria. 

To apply for a registered trade mark, you need to follow these steps:

  1. determine the contents of your trade mark and the goods or services it will apply to;
  2. conduct a trade mark search to discover whether trade marks similar to yours already exist. An initial assessment may also be useful here;
  3. prepare the necessary documentation to form your registration application, including your details and information about your trade mark (such as its type);
  4. send through the necessary forms and paperwork through IPONZ’s online portal;
  5. wait for IPONZ’s response, which can take up to 15 working days; and
  6. go forward according to what their response says, such as working to comply with any compliance reports.

Getting a trade mark specialist to help you with this process can make things much easier and less complex for you. They can help you conduct a trade mark search and prepare your trade mark documentation appropriately to better your chances of acceptance.

For instance, the more distinctive or unique your trade mark is concerning the classes of goods or services it applies to, the higher your chances of success. A trade mark specialist can help you determine whether your trade mark is distinctive enough for approval.

Application Costs

The total cost of your application will vary, depending on the structure and nature of your application. For example, applying for trade mark registration costs $100 per class that you wish to register your trade mark for. Therefore, the more classes, the higher the total costs.

For example, say that you wish to register a trade mark that applies to the coffee mugs you sell. These would come under class 21 of kitchen and household utensils. So, if you only registered for this one class, your fee would be $100.

Additionally, before you apply to register your trade mark, you can request a search and preliminary advice report from IPONZ. This report is an initial assessment of your trade mark and details both:

  • search results to determine if a trade mark similar to yours already exists; and
  • preliminary advice from IPONZ’s examiners surrounding whether your trade mark meets their criteria.

Requesting this report costs $50 per trade mark class.

Discount Eligibility

There are some cases where you may qualify for discounts on your application costs. This depends on the format of your application and how you prepared your paperwork. In particular, you can reduce the class application fee from $100 down to $70 if you only use pre-approved terms when referring to the specific goods and services for your trade mark.

For instance, makeup, eye makeup, and body makeup are all pre-approved terms for cosmetic goods that your trade mark can apply to. You can find out which pre-approved terms apply to you by using IPONZ’s trade mark specification builder online.

Additionally, if you requested a search and preliminary advice report before applying and your application exactly matches what IPONZ assessed, your application fees go down from $100 to $50. However, you must submit your application with three months of receiving your search and preliminary advice report.

Key Takeaways

If you wish to receive a discount on your trade mark application fee, you need to follow the requirements as set by IPONZ. If you would like more information or help with applying for your trade mark registration, contact LegalVision’s trade mark lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does trade mark application cost?

A trade mark application costs $100 per class that you wish to register the trade mark for. You can also purchase a search and preliminary advice report for $50.

Can I get a discount on my trade mark application fee?

If you only use pre-approved terms for your goods and services specifications under your trade mark’s classes, the fee goes down from $100 to $70 per class.

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