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Intellectual Property for Non Specialists

Greg Arthur Matt Sumpter 2008
Greg Arthur
A J Park
Matt Sumpter
Chapman Tripp

This book is only available in PDF format 
Published: 18 August, 2008
Pages: 78


Once less fashionably known as “industrial property”, intellectual property law has gone from strength to strength since its re-branding in the late 1980s. Over the last decade “IP” law and practice has developed in stride with the Internet’s ubiquity. Relentless branding and advancement in technology markets has seen intellectual property rights reconditioned and expanded in many directions since the turn of the century:

  • trade mark rights were clarified and extended by the Trade Marks Act 2002;
  • in 2006 New Zealand received a Domain Names Dispute Resolution Service courtesy of the Internet Society of New Zealand;
  • upon commencement later this year, the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act 2008 will update copyright law to account for the rise and rise of digital technology; and
  • on 9 July 2008, the Patents Bill was introduced into Parliament with a suite of changes designed to secure the right balance between incentives for innovation and technology transfer, while ensuring protection of the public interest and Maori traditional knowledge.

Blockbuster reform has been well supported by common law developments and plenty of consultation papers on IP issues and proposals from the Ministry of Economic Development.

For those that don’t specialise in IP, the detail of recent reform will be of interest but not of weekly significance. That said, the pace and reach of developments in this practice area does underscore its ever increasing significance across the economy. It is in that context that this booklet is written and structured to give practitioners an understanding of the diffuse rights which, in combination, we call “intellectual property”, or just “IP”:

  • trade marks;
  • copyright;
  • designs;
  • patents; and
  • confidential information.

Knowing trade marks from copyright, and patents from designs, can be key to
understanding clients’ asset protection and commercialisation options and issues. We hope this booklet helps entrench the distinctions between the rights and provides food for thought when IP assets are under threat or up for sale.


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