A number of New Zealand trade mark owners have recently received incorrect notifications in relation to their International Registrations designating New Zealand ("IRNZ"). The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand ("IPONZ") advise these incorrect notifications appear to be the result of a "system issue" concerning communications with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) who are responsible for overseeing the International Registration system.
As a result, some IRNZ's are currently displaying a different status on the WIPO and IPONZ databases. For example, an IRNZ may have been accepted by IPONZ, but due to the "system issue" between IPONZ and WIPO, this mark may have (erroneously) been communicated to WIPO as a refusal. Further, some trade mark owners have received notification from IPONZ and/or WIPO confirming their IRNZ has been formally (i.e. finally) refused, despite responding to the provisional refusal of the relevant IRNZ in good time.
IPONZ have now located the cause of this "system issue" and identified all relevant IRNZs where a notification was sent in error. IPONZ are currently working with WIPO to reverse these transactions. The current notifications on WIPO's database are not expected to impact the status of the relevant IRNZs on the New Zealand Register of Trade Marks or IPONZ trade marks database.
If you or your clients are concerned about the current status of trade marks in New Zealand (including the status of any IRNZs), our firm can assist you by confirming the status of such marks or securing suitable trade mark protection in New Zealand.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
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