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International Treaties List

International Treaties List as at July 2012

Intellectual Property

30. Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
Common name: ACTA

ACTA is concerned with the enforcement of intellectual property rights, and in particular enforcement of copyright and trademarks rights against trafficking in pirated copyright works and goods bearing counterfeited trademarks. The proposed objective of ACTA is to establish a common standard for intellectual property rights, particularly in the context of counterfeiting and piracy. The provisions of ACTA are expected to be organised into three main categories:

Lead Agencies:

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment / New Zealand Customs Service / Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Status:
Plurilateral. Negotiations concluded in 2010 and countries that participated in the negotiations have until 1 May 2013 to sign the Agreement. New Zealand signed the Agreement on 1 October 2011. No decision has been taken as to whether or not New Zealand will ratify the Agreement.

Particular interest to Maori and other groups:
ACTA is unlikely to have any impact on Māori interests, except Māori businesses who own copyright and/or trademark rights.

Likely interest groups are expected to include New Zealand businesses that own copyright and trademark rights and intellectual property rights professionals, such as: trade mark agents; patent attorney firms; New Zealand Institute of Patent Attorneys; law practitioners and law firms that provide advice on copyright and trade mark protection; and the New Zealand Law Society.

Legislation required:

Yes, if a decision is taken to ratify the agreement.

Contact:

George Wardle
Senior Analyst
Intellectual Property Policy Team
Business, Innovation and Employment

george.wardle@mbie.govt.nz

Ph (04) 474 2196      Fax (04) 499 8508top of page

 
31. The Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks
Common name: The Singapore Treaty (previously the Trademark Law Treaty 2006)

The Singapore Treaty applies to the procedures governing the registration and maintenance of trade marks. The Singapore Treaty will not apply to collective trademarks nor certification trademarks.

The aim of the Singapore Treaty is to make national trade mark registration systems more user-friendly through the simplification and harmonisation of procedures before a national trade mark office. The Treaty will provide a range of standards and rules concerning what a trade mark office can require and, in particular, cannot require from the trade mark owner, applicant or other party in the following areas:

Lead agency:

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Status:
Multilateral. Text adopted in March 2006. New Zealand signed the Singapore Treaty on 26 September 2006. Parliamentary treaty examination was completed on 16 November 2006. The Trade Marks Amendment Act 2011 containing amendments to the Trade Marks Act 2002 necessary to facilitate ratification was enacted on 15 September 2011. Ratification is expected to be completed late 2012 following a general review of the Trade Marks Regulations 2003.

Website: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) - Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks [external link]

Particular interest to Maori and other groups:

No impact on Maori interests in anticipated.

A discussion paper entitled International Trade Mark Treaties was published in March 2006 by the Ministry of Economic Development. A wide range of interested businesses, trade mark professions and interested parties, including Maori businesses and groups with an interest in intellectual property law, were invited to make a submission on whether New Zealand should become party to the Singapore Treaty. Targeted workshops explaining the standards and rules of the Singapore Treaty were held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch on 23, 24 and 25 November 2005.

Principal stakeholders likely to be interested in New Zealand becoming party to the Madrid Protocol are both New Zealand and overseas businesses as well as trade mark professionals, such as: trade mark agents; patent attorney firms; New Zealand Institute of Patent Attorneys, Inc; law practitioners and law firms that provide advice on trade mark protection and the New Zealand Law Society.

Legislation required:

Amendments to both the Trade Marks Act 2002 and Trade Marks Regulations 2003 are required to enable ratification of the Singapore Treaty.

Contact:

George Wardle
Senior Analyst
Intellectual Property Policy Team
Business, Innovation and Employment

george.wardle@mbie.govt.nz

Ph (04) 474 2196      Fax (04) 499 8508top of page

 
32. The Madrid Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
Common Name: The Madrid Protocol

The objective of the Madrid Protocol is to facilitate the protection of trade marks by reducing the compliances associated with applying overseas for trade mark protection and maintaining that protection. The Madrid Protocol provides an international registration regime for trademarks. Trademark owners may apply to register a trade mark or maintain their registrations of trade marks in any number of the Member countries without the need to employ a trade mark agent in each country.

New Zealand’s obligations under the Madrid Protocol would be principally managed by the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ).

Lead agency:

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Status:
Multilateral. The Madrid Protocol entered into force internationally on 1 December 1995. Parliamentary treaty examination was completed on 16 November 2006. The Trade Marks Amendment Act 2011 containing amendments to the Trade Marks Act 2002 necessary to facilitate implementation of the Madrid Protocol was enacted on 15 September 2011. It is expected that the Madrid Protocol will enter into force for New Zealand in late 2012 following development of the necessary regulations for the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand to give effect to the Madrid Protocol procedures.

Website: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) - Administered Treaties [external link]

Particular interest to Maori and other groups:

A discussion paper entitled International Trade Mark Treaties was published in March 2006 by the Ministry of Economic Development. A wide range of interested businesses, trade mark professions and interested parties, including Maori businesses and groups with an interest in intellectual property law, were invited to make a submission on whether New Zealand should join the Madrid Protocol. Targeted workshops explaining the international registration regime for trade marks under the Madrid Protocol were held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch on 23, 24 and 25 November 2005.

Principal stakeholders likely to be interested in New Zealand becoming party to the Madrid Protocol are both New Zealand and overseas businesses as well as trade mark professionals, such as: trade mark agents; patent attorney firms; New Zealand Institute of Patent Attorneys, Inc; law practitioners and law firms that provide advice on trade mark protection and the New Zealand Law Society.

Legislation required:

Amendment is required to the Trade Marks Act 2002 and new regulations to implement the Madrid system in NewZealand will need to be developed to implement the Madrid Protocol.

Contact:

George Wardle
Senior Analyst
Intellectual Property Policy Team
Business, Innovation and Employment

george.wardle@mbie.govt.nz

Ph (04) 474 2196      Fax (04) 499 8508top of page

 
33. The Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks
Common Name: The Nice Agreement

The Nice Agreement provides an international classification system of goods and services for the purposes of registering trade marks (the “Nice Classification”). Those countries party to the Nice Agreement must adopted and apply the Nice Classification in relation to the registration of trade marks. While New Zealand is not party to the Nice Agreement, the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) uses the Nice Classification for the registration of trade marks. The use of the eighth edition of the Nice Classification is required under the Trade Marks Regulations 2003.

Lead agency:

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Status:
Multilateral. The Nice Agreement entered into force internationally on 8 April 1961 and has subsequently been revised. Parliamentary treaty examination was completed on 16 November 2006. The Trade Marks Amendment Act 2011 containing amendments to the Trade Marks Act 2002 necessary to facilitate accession to the Nice Agreement was enacted on 15 September 2011. The process of accession is expected to be completed late 2012.

Website:

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) - International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purpose of the Registration of Marks [external link]

Particular interest to Maori and other groups:

A discussion paper entitled International Trade Mark Treaties was published in March 2006 by the Ministry of Economic Development. A wide range of interested businesses, trade mark professions and interested parties, including Maori businesses and groups with an interest in intellectual property law, were invited to make a submission on New Zealand’s accession to the Nice Agreement. Targeted workshops explaining the Nice Agreement were held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch on 23, 24 and 25 November 2005.

Principal stakeholders likely to be interested in accession to the Nice Agreement are New Zealand and overseas businesses as well as trade mark professionals, such as: trade mark agents; patent attorney firms; New Zealand Institute of Patent Attorneys, Inc; law practitioners and law firms that provide advice on trade mark protection and the New Zealand Law Society.

Legislation required:

Yes. Accession to the Agreement requires an amendment to the Trade Marks Act 2002. It is anticipated that an amendment to the Trade Marks Regulations 2003 may also be necessary to allow the Commissioner of Trade Marks to initiate the conversion of around 1,300 old trade mark registrations into the Nice Classification.

Contact:

George Wardle
Senior Analyst
Intellectual Property Policy Team
Business, Innovation and Employment

george.wardle@mbie.govt.nz

Ph (04) 474 2196      Fax (04) 499 8508

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34. Substantive Patent Law Treaty
Common name: SPLT

The purpose of the SPLT is to harmonise matters of substantive patent law, that is, matters relating to the criteria for granting a patent. The objective of harmonisation is to reduce the costs for applicants applying for patents in many countries. At present, differences in substantive patent law between countries mean that different patent specifications have to be drawn up for different countries, and the scope of patent rights granted for the some invention can vary between countries. This can add significantly to applicants’ costs. New Zealand would not be obliged to become party to the SPLT (when and if it is concluded). It may be, though, that becoming party could be a condition of future Free Trade Agreements involving New Zealand.

Lead agency:

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Status:

Multilateral. Negotiations on the SPLT have stalled, largely due to differences between developed countries and developing countries. There have been no substantive negotiations on SPLT since 2004, and it is unlikely that negotiations will resume in the near future.

Website: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)- Adminstered Treaties [external link]

Particular interest to Maori and other groups:

Harmonisation of substantive patent law through a Substantive Patent Law Treaty may impact on Maori interests in the protection of traditional knowledge, and in the issues surrounding the granting of patents over indigenous plants and animals.

Interest among other stakeholders include: New Zealand Institute of Patent Attorneys; Researched Medicines Industry Association of New Zealand; Crown Research Institutes; Universities; Internet Society of New Zealand; NZBio; Fonterra and Pharmac.

Legislation Required:
Yes. If the SPLT is eventually concluded and New Zealand becomes party, it is likely that legislation amending the Patents Act will be required.

Contact:

Warren Hassett
Senior Analyst
Regulatory and Competition Policy Branch
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

warren.hassett@mbie.govt.nz
Ph (04) 474 2830      Fax (04) 499 1791

 
35. World Intellectual Property Office Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organisations

The World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organisations (the Treaty) aims to harmonise protections for broadcasting organisations in their broadcasts, across WIPO member states.

WIPO recognises that broadcasting piracy is prevalent and causes economic harm to broadcasting organisations, and as such, would like to harmonise the different approaches that members take in relation to protecting broadcasts.

The treaty may grant exclusive rights to broadcasting and cable casting organisations. For example, the treaty may grant an exclusive right to authorise the retransmission of a broadcast, the fixation of a broadcast, or the reproduction of fixations of a broadcast.

Lead agency:

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Status:
Multilateral. Discussions on the draft treaty will remain on the Agenda of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) during 2012. The draft treaty still includes a range of alternatives that SCCR members are considering before further progress is made. WIPO members are discussing the development of a work programme to further progress.

Website: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) [external link]

Particular interest to Maori and other groups:
Māori Broadcasters would also be affected by any possible changes, and would be consulted in a manner consistent with other interested parties.

The treaty would give broadcasting organisations more protection for their broadcasts. It is unclear whether broadcast piracy is a big issue in New Zealand, and as such we do not have a good indication of the possible economic benefits that the treaty would provide. Consultation with interested parties would be undertaken during the negotiations phase.

Legislation Required:
As negotiations are at the very early stages, it is unclear whether legislative amendment would be required.

Contact:
Peter Bartlett
Analyst
Intellectual Property
Competition, Trade and Investment Branch
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

peter.bartlett@mbie.govt.nz
Ph (04) 470 2519

 
36. World Intellectual Property Organisation Audio Visual Performances Treaty

The WIPO Audio Visual Performances Treaty attempts to harmonise the protections given to the rights of performers in their audiovisual performances, (for example, the rights actors have in a film), across WIPO member states.

The treaty would grant a range of rights to performers, for example the exclusive right to authorize the direct or indirect reproduction of their performances in audio visual fixations.

The WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, which is already in force but which NewZealand has not joined, grants similar rights to performers in sound recordings. The treaty therefore attempts to give actors and dramatic performers similar sorts of protections that musicians already possess under the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

Lead agency:

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Status:
Multilateral.

Treaty negotiations are set to be concluded by a WIPO Diplomatic Conference, being held in Beijing in June 2012.

Website: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) [external link]

Particular interest to Maori and other groups:
Māori performers and producers would also be affected by the Treaty, and would be consulted in a manner consistent with other performers and producers.

Performers only have limited rights under the New Zealand Copyright Act 1994.  The Treaty would expand the scope and nature of protections, and therefore provide possible economic and moral benefits to performers.

Producers of audio visual fixations of performances currently contract with performers in order to ensure they do not breach the limited rights performers have in relation to their performances.  The Treaty could change the nature of the relationship between performers and producers, requiring producers to acquire more extensive authorisation from performers when dealing with fixations of their performances.

There may also be implications for collective organisations who license performers’ rights.

Legislation Required:
Should New Zealand decide to join the treaty, substantial amendment to the Copyright Act 1994 would be required.

Contact:
Peter Bartlett
Analyst
Intellectual Property
Competition, Trade and Investment Branch
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

peter.bartlett@mbie.govt.nz
Ph (04) 470 2519

 
37. World Intellectual Property Organisation Treaty for Improved Access to the Blind, Visually Impaired and Other Reading Disabled Persons

The purpose of the WIPO Treaty for Improved Access to the Blind, Visually Impaired and Other Reading Disabled Persons (the Treaty) is to harmonise limitations and exceptions to copyright that are needed to ensure access to copyright works for persons who are visually impaired or otherwise disabled in terms of reading copyrighted works.

Lead agency:

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Status:
Multilateral. The treaty will remain on the agenda of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) during 2012. The focus for the SCCR during 2012 will be to consider a consolidated proposal for a non-binding instrument. There is no consensus that a treaty is the appropriate legal instrument to address the issues.

Website: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) [external link]

Particular interest to Maori and other groups:
By harmonising limitations and exceptions to copyright, WIPO aims to increase access to copyright works for visually impaired or print disabled persons. The intended benefits of harmonisation would also apply to Maori who are visually impaired or print disabled. Consultation will be undertaken in a manner consistent with other visually impaired or print disabled persons and representative organisations.

Harmonisation would increase the number and availability of copyright works for visually impaired and print disabled persons from current levels. Consultation with the Royal NewZealand Foundation for the Blind and the NewZealand society of Authors has already been undertaken, both groups generally supporting progress in this area.

Legislation Required:
Not yet clear.

Contact:
Peter Bartlett
Analyst
Intellectual Property
Competition, Trade and Investment Branch
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

peter.bartlett@mbie.govt.nz
Ph (04) 470 2519

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Page last updated: Monday, 30 July 2012 11:44 NZST