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A trade mark registration is a type of intellectual property right. As such, many businesses use trade mark registrations to protect key aspects of their branding and marketing. That way, if others copy their recognisable brand trade marks, they can stop such action. However, registered trade mark rights do have various costs. Therefore, if you wish to register one, you should know the upfront and ongoing fees. So, this article will explain the different trade mark fees in New Zealand. 

What Is a Trade Mark?

A trade mark is a kind of intellectual property asset that you can own, much like your business’ physical assets. It protects certain aspects of your brand and can bring great value to your business. Accordingly, it exists as a “badge of origin” for you, indicating to your customers that your business is the source of the goods or services you provide.

For example, customers who see your mug logo know that your company manufactured those mugs.

As a result, businesses will commonly register key signs representing them as trade marks. Common examples include:

  • business names;
  • logos;
  • slogans; and
  • product names.

The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) manages trade mark registration. So, if you wish to register a trade mark in New Zealand, you must meet their evaluation criteria and pay the relevant registration fees.

Should I Register a Trade Mark?

A trade mark can offer your business many advantages but can be costly if you register one that does not adequately meet your needs. Therefore, you need to choose a trade mark that is unique enough to represent your business, and is not confusingly similar to one that already exists. Additionally, you need to consider whether your business can take advantage of the benefits a trade mark registration can offer you. These benefits include:

  • the exclusive right to use and commercialise your trade mark in New Zealand;
  • the exclusive right to license or sell your trade mark;
  • restrictions on others registering confusingly similar or identical trade marks after yours;
  • official recognition of your trade mark’s distinctiveness;
  • an asset whose value can increase as your business becomes more established;
  • legal powers if someone copies your trade mark; and
  • a record of your ownership on the national trade marks register.

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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How Much Does Registering a Trade Mark Cost?

The fees for registering a trade mark can vary, depending on your situation. The starting point for an application to register is $100 per class, excluding GST. So, for instance, if you registered a trade mark that applied to your handbag products in two separate classes, you would likely have to pay $200, excluding GST.

However, there are certain discounts available for your registration cost. If you had previously received a search and preliminary advice report, you could reduce your fees to $50 per class. You can only qualify for this discount if your trade mark application:

  • is based on a search and preliminary advice report issued within three months of your application (which will incur additional fees); and
  • matches the same information that IPONZ assessed as part of your report.

Additionally, the way you write your trade mark specification can affect your fees discount. If you use only pre-approved terms in your application, you can receive a discount that results in your trade mark costing $70 per class, excluding GST. IPONZ has a trade mark specification builder that you can use to help you choose such pre-approved terms.

If you wish to add another class to your application once you have submitted it, you can only do so on the same day you file your application. Alternatively, if IPONZ asks you to fix an incorrect class heading, this can result in a $100 fee per extra class, excluding GST.

What Other Trade Mark Fees Are There?

After trade mark registration, there are additional fees related to your trade mark. The most important and relevant of these is your renewal fee. Every ten years, if you wish for your trade mark to remain valid, you must renew it. Part of this process is paying the fee, which is $200 per class, excluding GST.

On top of that, if you are involved in a dispute regarding your trade mark application or registration that goes to a hearing, you will need to pay the relevant fees. Each party that goes to a trade mark hearing needs to pay an $850 hearing fee. 

Finally, if you wish to begin trade mark proceedings against another trade mark owner, there are certain fees. These are usually $350, excluding GST. These actions include a:

  • notice of opposition;
  • application for the revocation of the registration of a trade mark; and
  • application for a declaration of invalidity of registration.

Key Takeaways

The exact fees for registering a trade mark can vary, depending on your specific situation. However, as time goes on, there will likely be additional fees you have to pay, such as renewal fees.

If you need help with trade mark matters, our experienced trade mark lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 0800 005 570 or visit our membership page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I register a trade mark?

A trade mark can be a valuable intellectual property asset for your business. It can protect vital branding tools, such as your business name, logo, or slogan. Customers use these to recognise your business, so it may be worthwhile to register a trade mark protecting one of these assets.

How much does registering a trade mark cost?

The exact cost of registering a trade mark can vary according to your circumstances. However, the beginning fee is $100 per class you wish to register your trade mark for, excluding GST. Following that, there are various discounts you can take advantage of if your application meets certain conditions.

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