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Hearings

The role of the IPONZ Hearings Office

The IPONZ Hearings Office is a specialist tribunal that is responsible for administering proceedings under the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act 2006 in a fair, efficient and cost effective manner.

Hearings or proceedings relating to geographical indications (GIs) can include:

  • an opposition to an accepted application to register a GI
  • an opposition to alteration of a GI proposed by Registrar
  • an application by an interested person to alter a registered GI
  • an opposition to an application by an interested person to alter a registered GI
  • an opposition to removal of a GI proposed by Registrar
  • an application by an interested person to remove a registered GI
  • an opposition to an application by an interested person to remove a registered GI
  • a hearing on the exercise of the Registrar’s discretion, including a decision to refuse a GI application for registration . 

Fees

Fees apply to hearings and proceedings.

How to request a hearing/file a proceeding

  1. Go to the GI register.
  2. Find the relevant GI (see Using the Register for how to filter and sort).
  3. Click View full details to open the details page.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page.
  5. Under the heading Request a hearing or file a proceeding, select the relevant option.
  6. Complete the online form, attach your supporting documentation and submit your request.

Hearings Office neutrality

The Hearings Office must maintain its neutrality at all times, and can’t provide parties with any legal advice. If you’re not familiar with this area of work, we recommend that you consider obtaining professional assistance from a registered patent attorney, or a lawyer experienced in contentious IP matters.

What happens next

Once the evidential stages of a proceeding are complete, the case will be passed to an independent Assistant Commissioner, who will hear both parties before issuing a formal written decision.

This decision will normally include an award of costs to the successful party. It’s therefore important that parties be mindful of the possibility of a costs order being made against them before deciding to initiate, or defend, proceedings. See costs awards guidelines.