We provide access to documents under the legislation we administer, principally the Trade Marks Act 2002, the Patents Act 1953, the Designs Act 1953, and the Plant Variety Rights Act 1987. A large amount of the information we hold is publicly available by searching our website. If a request is made for information that is already publicly available, you'll be directed to our publicly searchable register.
Our online case management facility provides clients/agents with the ability to review all information relating to their files. (You will be required to use your logon).
We treat all other requests for information as requests made under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). We will carefully consider your requests when preparing and releasing information. The guiding principle is that official information must be made available under the OIA unless there are good reasons for withholding it.
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Making a request
Information subject to the OIA is best made online, although you may also make a request in person or by telephone.
Requesters are encouraged to make their request as specific as possible to allow us to address your request as expediently as possible. We may contact you if your request is too broad and requires refinement.
Requesters can be New Zealand citizens, permanent residents, persons in New Zealand or body corporates incorporated in New Zealand. Overseas body corporates with a place of business in New Zealand may also make a request.
There is no obligation under the OIA to release information to persons such as overseas requesters who do not fall into these categories. We will consider each request on its individual merits.
Most requested information is provided free of charge.
However, requests that are particularly time consuming to complete may incur a fee. In the event that a fee is required we will contact the requestor prior to the information being collected.
Certain information can be withheld under sections 18, 6 and 9 of the OIA only if there is a good reason that exists under the OIA for not releasing it. We will inform you if this occurs and you will be told the reasons for the refusal. You will also be advised of your right to ask the Ombudsman to investigate the refusal.
Reasons for refusal under the Act include:
- disclosure would contravene legislation or be contempt of court or Parliament,
- the information sought is or will soon be publicly available,
- the document sought doesn’t exist or can’t be found,
- We can't provide information without substantial collation or research, or
- the request is frivolous or vexatious or information requested is trivial,
- there are risks to national security, defence, international relations, the economy or trade or endanger personal safety, or
- legal professional privilege protects the information.
Note that while for the most part requests for information must be considered within the terms of the OIA there are a number of specific provisions in the Designs Act, the Patents Act and the Trade Marks Act which override the provisions of the OIA and control whether and how certain information should be released. Therefore, when a release of certain information would be contrary to the provisions of these Acts, a request for information may be refused.
Please refer to the following fact sheets below on the Release of Information under the Designs Act, Patents Acts and Trade Marks Act:
- Designs Act 1953 and Trade Marks Act 2002 fact sheet [135 KB PDF]
- Patents Act 2013 fact sheet [220 KB PDF]
- Patents Act 1953 fact sheet [189 KB PDF]
Under the Act your request must be answered within 20 working days. There may be circumstances in which IPONZ may require an extension to this but you will be contacted about this and told the reasons for the extension.
Right of complaint to the Ombudsmen
The Ombudsmen are independent Officers of Parliament who investigate complains concerning the decisions of central and local government bodies and agencies.
If you are unhappy about the decision made to refuse the release of any or all of the information you have requested you can make a complaint to the Ombudsmen.
For enquiries about requests for documents, please contact us.