The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) has now made it easier for people to check whether or not a word, image, or logo has been trade marked in New Zealand.
An online checker, called Trade Mark Check, allows people to check if a brand name, logo, or even a hand-drawn scrawl of a logo, is already on New Zealand's trade mark register, or looks similar to one that is.
The tool also displays the results, information about what to do next, and it even includes descriptions of intellectual property ideas.
IPONZ Trade Marks manager Rebecca James says that the tool can provide opportunities and advantages – particularly for those just starting out with an idea.
“With Trade Mark Check you can find out instantly if somebody else has already applied to register the trade mark, and potentially save thousands of dollars in branding costs,” she adds.
Trade Mark Check is the most recent initiative by IPONZ to encourage people who are new to intellectual property to get involved.
IPONZ estimates that approximately 10,000 new businesses each year do not take the time to register their intellectual property.
IPONZ says that Trade Mark Check stops the guessing. It lets you know, straight away, if there might be a problem in registering a trade mark for a name or logo for a business, service or product.
“The good thing about Trade Mark Check is that anyone can use it – for free. IPONZ has launched it as a beta version and wants to know what everyone thinks of it,” says James.
“We will be taking this feedback on board, updating and improving the tool to make sure we've got the best possible product that anyone can use, and that best works for them,” she concludes.
IPONZ has been rated number one in the world for the last two years for intellectual property online services, and boasts one of the least expensive trade mark fees in the OECD.
According to IPONZ, trade marks take a minimum of six months to acquire at a cost of $150 per class (excluding GST). Trade marks can last up to 10 years before they need to be renewed.
The Trade Mark Check tool is accessible on IPONZ's website (IPONZ.govt.nz) through a phone, tablet, or PC.