• John Luxton
Commerce and Industry

Minister of Commerce and Industry, Hon John Luxton, today launched the New Zealand Patent Office's Trade Marks Database on the Internet.

``This marks a new era in public access to intellectual property data,'' Mr Luxton said today.

``Trade marks are more popularly known as logos, brand names or invented words or symbols associated with a product or service. Registration of a trade mark provides protection against infringement by competitors or other interests.

``The online database represents another great step foward by the Ministery of Commerce in increasing levels of service and reducing costs to business and other New Zealanders who use this information.

``It is important that all Government agencies work on reducing compliance costs for business and keep up with their customers needs,'' Mr Luxton said.

The Ministry has released this database in response to an increasing interest from the business community and prospective entrepreneurs in acquiring logos and brand names. Since 1993 trade mark applications have increased by 58% with 15,000 expected to be filed in 1997.

Situated at the Ministry of Commerce's Commercial Affairs Division Internet Site, the database contains detailed information on all registered and pending trade marks within New Zealand. Of particular interest to business proprietors and their professional advisers will be the opportunity to view the graphic image of a trade mark on-screen.

``This service reflects the Ministry's commitment to using the Internet as the communication pathway to its many registry clients both for information and registration purposes,'' said Paul Carpinter, Secretary of Commerce.

At the Trade Marks Database is available alongside the Companies Office Database, the National Insolvency Database and the Motor Vehicle Securities Register.

Summary information on a trade mark is free of charge at the site. This includes the trade mark, class or schedule of registration and current status (eg registered/abandoned). More detailed information such as registration dates, the graphic image, goods and services covered by the mark and proprietor/user details are available at a cost of $2.00. ctd.... Previously, inquirers were required to visit the Patent Office in Lower Hutt or employ a search agent if they wished to conduct a trade mark search.

``Through the Internet service this information will be available 24 hours a day, and be readily accessible at minimal cost to all inquirers both in New Zealand and overseas,'' said Mr Carpinter.

Mr Carpinter, confirmed the services available at the site will eventually be enlarged to enable the on-line registration of a trade mark.

``The Ministry's scoping studies strongly support the potential to combine both patent and trade mark registration services in a single on-line facility through the Internet,'' he said. He expected this service to be available in late 1998.