Apply for a trade mark

Apply for a trade mark

Registering a trade mark is the best way to protect your company, brand and reputation.

This page will help you get ready to apply to register a trade mark.

Which application process is right for you?

There are multiple ways you can apply to register a trade mark with us. We have 2 application form options below, or an agent such as a trade mark attorney can apply on your behalf. Business Connect and IPONZ case management system both use RealMe® for login.

Business Connect guided trade mark application form

An easier experience for people new to registering trade marks who haven’t applied with us before.

  • Guided trade mark application form.
  • Can only apply for the most popular types of trade marks; words, image, or an image including words.
  • Can apply for yourself or your business, but not on behalf of someone else.
  • Only pre-approved goods and services terms are supported.
  • No additional charges to use the Business Connect guided trade mark application form.

Apply through Business Connect

IPONZ case management system application form

You can apply with us directly using our case management system.

  • Traditional trade mark application form.
  • All options available. Series marks, collective and certification marks, and option to apply to register words, image, image including words, colour, sound, smell, 3D, or animation.
  • Can apply for yourself or your business, and act as an agent for others.
  • Option to use customised goods and services terms, and upload saved list of terms from Trade Mark Specification Builder.
  • Option to base your application on a Search and Preliminary Advice Report.

Apply directly with IPONZ

Is your trade mark available?

The best trade marks are unique so they won't be confused with other trade marks.

Your application to register a trade mark may run into problems if your intended trade mark is ‘confusingly similar’ to a mark already applied for or in use. You can save time and effort by searching before applying.

Tip: Trade marks are registered in relation to specific goods or services, and on a first come, first served basis. Existing trade mark applications generally have ‘priority’ over newer applications. A trade mark similar to an existing trade mark can be registered for different goods or services, if it’s use is unlikely to deceive or confuse.

Search the New Zealand trade mark register

We have 2 options to search the register.

1. Use Trade Mark Check to easily see if a trade mark like yours already exists on the register.

Trade Mark Check

2. Use our Trade Mark Case Search if you want more search options such as searching by case number, owner, or date.

Trade Mark Case Search

Detailed information about searching the New Zealand trade mark register, including advanced search tips.
Search for existing trade marks

Search more generally to see if words or a slogan are already in use.
Use ONECheck to search New Zealand company names, domain names, and social media usernames.
ONECheck— business.govt

Search WIPO's (the World Intellectual Property Organization) international system for registering trade marks.
See if someone has recently applied for your trade mark in New Zealand. Results in WIPO's Madrid Monitor may not yet be notified on the New Zealand register.
Madrid Monitor— WIPO

You may want to also search the internet more broadly with a search engine such as Google.

Some words and images are protected by New Zealand legislation or international treaties and cannot be registered as a trade mark.
Protected words

When we examine your application we will tell you if we find similar existing trade marks. You can request a Search and Preliminary Advice report if you would like to know before applying. Most people choose to apply without requesting a report beforehand.
Search and Preliminary Advice

Is your trade mark distinctive?

Before you apply to register your trade mark, think about if your trade mark is distinctive. The purpose of a trade mark is to identify offers from different providers so brands can stand out from the competition.

Registered trade marks need to be distinctive in relation to the goods and services they are used for and can't describe their goods or services.

For example, “Apple” is a type of fruit so can’t be registered as a trade mark for fruit goods because it won’t distinguish one fruit brand from another. However, “Apple®” is distinctive in relation to computers.

Using colloquial or generic terms, and phrases that are commonly used in relation to the specified goods or services, may not be distinctive as a trade mark.
For example, the phrase "extra supreme" is often used to describe a pizza with many toppings. "Extra supreme" would not be registrable as a trade mark in relation to pizza. This allows generic terms to remain available for people to describe their goods and services.

When we examine your application, we will tell you if we have concerns about the distinctiveness of your trade mark. You can request a Search and Preliminary Advice report if you would like to know before applying. Most people choose to apply without requesting a report beforehand.

Search and Preliminary Advice

What you'll need to include in your application

Choose the type of trade mark you would like

The most common types of trade mark are:

  • Word trade marks such as:


  • Image trade marks. These do not contain any words, such as:
    Example of an image trade mark. Image shows a stylised Dove
  • Combined trade marks. These are a combination of words and images, or words in a stylised form, such as:
    3 examples of combined marks. First example shows stylised logo featuring the word “Dove”, second example shows the stylised dove above alongside the stylised word “Dove”, third example shows the stylised words “Fresh Blue” on a blue background with a swirl motif.

You can also apply to register a trade mark that is a colour, sound, smell, 3D, or animation. Applications for these mark types along with series marks, collective, and certification marks are more complicated. You may want to consider seeking advice from an attorney specialising in trade marks.

Image file requirements

If you want to apply to register a trade mark that is an image or image with words, you will need to upload a file of the image. The file should be in .jpg format, size under 10MB, and resolution under 4,000 by 5,000 pixels. The trade mark is protected exactly as filed, so please ensure your image shows only what you want to appear in your registered trade mark.

What are your goods and services?

Trade marks are registered in relation to specific goods or services. Your application to register a trade mark must include a list of all the goods and services that you want to register your trade mark for. This list is called your specification of goods and services.

New Zealand uses the Nice Classification system, an internationally agreed system with 45 classes. There are 34 classes for goods and 11 classes for services.

The easiest way to prepare your specification of goods and services is to choose from the list of pre-approved terms. A reduced fee is available if your specification uses only pre-approved goods and services terms. To find pre-approved terms for your specification use our Trade Mark Specification Builder.

Trade Mark Specification Builder

Which terms should you choose?

Let’s suppose you want to register a trade mark for a business that makes outdoor clothing. To find goods and services terms to include in your specification go to our Trade Mark Specification Builder and search for ‘clothing’. You’ll see matches for ‘clothing’ in ‘Class 25 – Clothing, footwear, headgear’.

Look over the results in other classes to see if they are also appropriate for what your business offers. If you also make protective clothing you may want to add terms from class 9 which includes safety equipment.

Do more searches with other keywords relevant to your business. If your business provides services like retail where you are selling goods from other suppliers, or tailoring or customisation, you may want to add terms in the relevant services classes too.


  • When compiling your specification think about what people pay you for. Is it a good, like coffee beans; or a service, for example selling foodstuffs or running a café? Choose as many goods or services terms as you intend to use your trade mark for. You may want to have a combination of specific terms and some overlapping broader terms to help cover future expansion.
  • Check what goods and services terms your competitors have in their trade mark specifications. Search the trade marks register for their trade marks using Trade Mark Check, or Trade Mark Case Search.You can save your results from Trade Mark Specification Builder for future reference. For example, you can save these as a .pdf file to share with a business advisor, or you can save these as an .xml file to import into our trade mark application form.
  • Include IP in your business plan and strategy. Remember if your business changes products or services you may want to seek additional trade mark protection. You may want to seek advice from a business advisor or trade mark attorney.

Applications to register a trade mark are charged per class. The fee depends on how many classes are in your specification of goods and services, and if you’re using custom or pre-approved terms. The goods and services in your specification must be grouped into the appropriate class.

Trade mark fees

Classifying your goods and/or services.

Decide the owner

A trade mark can be owned by:

  • a company.
  • individual(s).
  • a partnership (the full names of all the partners are required).
  • 1 or more of the company owners.
  • other legal entities, such as an incorporated society.

It is important to decide who owns the trade mark. You can transfer ownership later, but it is easier to have a plan from the start. If you’re unsure about who should own the trade mark you’re applying for, it’s a good idea to seek legal advice from a business advisor or attorney specialising in trade marks.

A trade mark can become a valuable asset, and you need to manage it like any other property right. Make sure you have a plan for who will look after it. For example, you should update your contact details with us as needed, and trade marks need to be renewed every 10 years to remain registered.

Next steps

There are several steps that must take place between submitting your trade mark application and your proposed trade mark becoming registered. For more details on these steps and timeframes, please see our Examination Process page.

Trade marks examination process

In general, when you submit a trade mark application, we will examine your application and provide a response within a given timeframe. You’ll receive an email inviting you to log into our case management facility to see the examination outcome.

Timeframes for trade mark applications

Sometimes we may need additional information to process your application. If so, we will email you to notify you of our request and you can add the information through our case management facility. You should respond to these requests promptly, being sure to follow any instructions.

If your application doesn't comply fully with the relevant legislation, our trade mark examiners will send you a compliance report. The compliance report will state the issues that have been identified with your application and provide some options to resolve these issues if available.

Respond to compliance report

Wait for the registration period

If your trade mark application is accepted we will issue you an acceptance notice.

There is a waiting period between your application's acceptance and registration. This is to ensure there are no complications to the registration of your trade mark. For example, someone may oppose your application, or a similar trade mark may claim an earlier priority date.

If no complications arise, your application will become registered a minimum of 6 months after its filing date.

Application acceptance

Examination process

Trade mark application process

  1. Application submitted.

  2. Response from trade mark examiner.
    📅 Within 15 working days.
    View current timeframes.

  3. Application accepted.
    The application has been assessed as meeting the requirements.
    Note: This is not registration.

  4. Wait for advertisement and international priority requirements to elapse.

  5. Application advertised in The Journal for 3 months so that others may oppose your trade mark application.
    Wait for 6 months to elapse in case an application with an earlier priority date is received.
    Note: These requirements affect less than 1% of applications.
    View The Journal

  6. Trade mark registered.
    📅 Minimum 6 months from application.
    Can now use ® symbol.