How to apply for a patent
You can apply for a patent by completing our online application form and paying the prescribed fee. Before you begin you are going to need:
- To become a registered user to our website, this gives you access to IPONZ’s case management facility that will help you manage your intellectual property (IP) via our website. There are no joining or maintenance fees. Read more on how to become a registered user. If you already have a username and password with other Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment websites such as New Zealand Companies Office you will be able to use this to access our site.
- The name and address information of the applicant. If you are the applicant for the patent, then supply your details. If you are applying for a business or someone else, or if several applicants are applying, then have these details ready. Note – applicants, for example, companies or individuals who own the invention, can apply on their own behalf, however, in order to make an application for a patent on behalf of someone else you can only do this for gain (such as payment) if you are a registered New Zealand patent attorney.
- The name and address details of the inventors if you are applying for a non-convention application. Note – this information is not required for Patent Cooperation Treaty applications entering into the national phase.
- An address for service in New Zealand – every application must have a service address in New Zealand. This can be a business or residential address, post office box or document exchange box in New Zealand.
- The details of any convention priority claims you intend to make. Note – this information is not required for Patent Cooperation Treaty applications.
- A patent specification document - this describes the invention.
Careful drafting of your specification is necessary. For more information see What is a patent specification?
Type of patent applications:
- Application with provisional specification
Not examined, so IPONZ does not conduct a search for similar inventions or examine the application. However, this option gives you a further 12 months (extendible to 15 months) before you need to file a complete specification.
- Application with complete specification
Examined by IPONZ and an examination report issued within 15 days. You will have 18 months from the date of the first examination in which to respond to the report.
- PCT national phase entry Application.
Examined by IPONZ at a date after 31 months from the priority date. An examination report will be then issued. You will have 18 months from the date of the first examination in which to respond to the report.
Note – a specification is not required if you are filing an application for entry into national phase online. IPONZ will obtain the information from the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
What type of application should I file?
- I have a provisional specification; which type of application should I make?
- Make a new provisional application using the provisional specification.
- I have a complete specification; which type of application should I make?
- Make a new complete application using the complete specification.
- I want to claim priority from a previously filed provisional specification; which type of application should I make?
- Make a new complete application with a complete specification. A link to the provisional case will be created by you on the application form. The new application will have a different case number from the provisional application case number.
- I want to divide out of a previously filed complete application, the filing date to be ante-dated to the filing date of its parent; which type of application should I make?
- Make a new complete application. A link to the parent case will be created by you on the application form.
- I want to claim an invention based on disclosures from two or more provisional cases; what should I do?
- Make a new complete application with a complete specification. Links to the provisional cases will be created by you on the application form. A new complete application will be linked to those cases. Each will have a different case number. The new complete application will inherit the priority date from the earliest provisional application.
- I want to make an application to enter National Phase in New Zealand; what should I do?
- Make a new PCT National Phase Entry application. You will need to enter a valid PCT number while filing. Our system will validate it with WIPO and then download the information from WIPO to the application form. You must submit amendments at the time of filing. Please note the download time will vary depending on the amount of information that is to be downloaded.
Read our practice guidelines about making an application:
- Filing an Application
- Filing a Provisional Specification
- Filing a Complete Specification
- National Phase Entry
Once you have logged in you will be taken to your User Inbox. Under the Patent section select the appropriate type of application to apply for patent.
Note | You are able to save your incomplete application at any stage by selecting Save on the bottom right corner of the page. To retrieve a saved application choose Apply for and in the section Your saved Patents requests you will be able to Select and complete your previously saved application.
Saved applications that have not been completed will be kept for a 90 days, after which they will be deleted automatically from the system.
Ensure you fill in all required Fields (marked with a red dot). If you need help, select and hold the cursor over the chosen field box and a help dialogue box will appear.
On the application form you will see:
Act: This is just to notify which Act is used for this application; you do not need to enter anything here.
Reference: Enter your reference for the application. You should use a different reference for each application. You will be prompted if you enter a previously used reference by mistake.
Related Application(s): You can specify whether this application is divided out of a previous application by selecting the tick box. If it is not a divisional application but based on an earlier filed provisional application(s) or if the new application is to be granted as a patent of addition then search for the provisional(s) or main patent application using the search button next to the appropriate label. For an application with complete specification having a related provisional application, the filing date will be ante-dated back to the provisional application’s filing date.
Contact: You need to select the relationship that you have with the applicant. If you are the applicant, select that you are acting ‘in my own right’. Your IPONZ user account details will populate the applicant details and case contact. You are able to change these details by selecting EDIT on the right side of the address. If you are acting ‘As an agent’ then selecting this option will cause your details to populate the agent details and the case contact. The actual applicant can be searched for and selected from previous clients. If a new applicant is required you will be able to create a client record for them by using the ADD button in the client search screen. If you wish to upload an “Agent Authority” you can do so by clicking on the ADD button then click on the Select Files button to select the Agent Authority document on your computer to upload. Select Continue to accept the file you have uploaded. For a PCT National Phase the applicant will have been filled in already but they can be removed or modified as needed.
Patent Information: Enter the details of your patent application here.
Technology Group: Select an appropriate technology group for your application. If you are unsure what group to pick, select the “Unknown” group and IPNZ will select a group for you when your application is examined.
Inventor(s): Search for Inventor details here. If a new inventor is required you will be able to create a client record for them by using the ADD button in the client search screen. For a PCT National Phase application this will have been filled in already.
Title of Invention: Enter the title of the invention. For a PCT National Phase application this will have been filled in already.
Postponed acceptance period: If you wish to delay the registration of your application, enter a number between 1 and 18 to indicate the number of months you would like the acceptance delayed. The delay will begin from the date that the application was submitted or the next working day if submitted on a closed day.
Priority: If you are claiming an earlier filing date based on an overseas application you will need to enter the details of the overseas application. Select ADD and enter the overseas application number, priority date and country where the application was first made. A convention document may be uploaded at this time but is not mandatory. You will need to supply this document during examination of the application. For a PCT National Phase application this will have been filled in already.
Patent Specification: You are required to give the specification a title. It is appropriate to use the same title as the application. To add a specification select Add then click on the Select Files button to select the specification document on your computer to upload. Select Continue to accept the file you have uploaded then select Submit to confirm the addition of the file and its title to your application. Note – a specification is not required if you are filing an application for entry into PCT National Phase online. IPONZ will obtain the information from the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
Preparation of a patent specification is a complex matter and we recommend you contact a patent attorney for professional assistance. See the list of registered patent attorneys.
Submitting your online application
- Check your application thoroughly and make any final changes before submitting it. If you would like to save your application without submitting it press Save. You can generate a printout of your application, by clicking Generate PDF summary.
- When you have completed the application form click Submit.
(Note: If there is an error or omission in the form a message will display in red at the location on the screen where the information that is missing or wrong is required).
- Your fee description will be displayed at the bottom of the main application page and on the payment page.
- Payment: If you have a direct debit facility loaded to your IPONZ user account you can choose the Direct Debit option for payment. Otherwise click Credit Card and fill in the credit card form. Once your application has been submitted you will receive a notification to the e-mail address that was listed in the contact details. A confirmation and summary of the submission of the patent application will then appear in the discussion section of your User Inbox.
What happens next?
Review the Patent process section for more information on the application process.