Protect an invention – the main kinds of inventions that can be patented are:
* a useful product that is new or improved,
* a new or improved process that can be used in industry,
* new computer technology
A fee is paid to IPONZ when applying for a patent, and it will only be granted if an invention is:
* novel i.e. not previously known in New Zealand (see confidentiality agreements above). IPONZ has special arrangements for permitting the public display of inventions at events such as science fairs, prior to applying for a patent. Certain procedures must be followed (check the IPONZ website well before your event) and the patent must be applied for within a specified time after the display.
* not obvious – it must show an ‘inventive step’.
Owning a patent means having the legal right to prevent others in New Zealand commercialising an invention – although this could necessitate taking them to court (which could be costly). It does not have to be proved the invented product was copied, only that the same process of making it has been used commercially without your permission.
The patent will be granted for 4 years, but it can be renewed regularly up to a maximum term of 20 years, after which the patent expires.