Inventors can look forward to a faster, cheaper and more streamlined trans-Tasman patent process in the very near future, which legislators say could save thousands of dollars.
Commerce minister Simon Power and Australia's innovation minister Senator Kim Carr have agreed to introduce a single-application process for both countries by early 2013, and a single patent examination by June 2014.
Having a common procedure in place will prevent duplication and reduce costs, making it easier for businesses to protect their intellectual property.
Power says most applications filed here are also filed in Australia.
“By removing potential barriers we’re trying to create a seamless trans-Tasman business environment and making it easier to conduct business in both countries,” he said.
“This level of patent cooperation is a world first and will give Australian and New Zealand innovators greater confidence when seeking IP protection overseas.”
Carr says the government's role is to encourage innovation, not hinder it with bureaucracy.
“To succeed in the tough global marketplace, both Australia and New Zealand will need successful innovators, and lots of them."
The streamlined patent process is part of a suite of intellectual property initiatives proposed under the trans-Tasman Single Economic Market.