Legislation implementing a trans-Tasman patent attorney regime took effect on 24 February 2017 in New Zealand and Australia, meaning patent attorneys in both countries are registered under a single set of requirements and are on a single joint register.
Part 2 of the Patents (Trans-Tasman Patent Attorneys and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2017 which amends the Patents Act 2013, has been brought into force by the Patents (Trans-Tasman Patent Attorneys and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2016 Commencement Order 2017.
New patent attorneys in New Zealand and Australia will be registered under a single set of requirements, and will be subject to a single code of conduct and single disciplinary process. Existing attorneys will be automatically transferred to the new joint register.
The Professional Standards Board continues, but is renamed the trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board, with an expanded membership.
A provision in the New Zealand legislation states that the joint registration regime does not prohibit lawyers from providing legal services or from taking part in proceedings under the Patents Act 2013 to the extent that they were entitled to do so before commencement of the new regime. However, this does not limit section 277, which covers preparation of specification or documents relating to amendment of specifications prepared by lawyers.
New Zealand Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean says this is the first time a profession will be truly regulated, in a unified way on a trans-Tasman basis.