Searching for pre 1980 archived NZ patents

Searching for pre 1980 archived NZ patents

Uploading of New Zealand patent records

Records of New Zealand patents/patent applications published from 1861 to 1879 and from 1891 to 1979 have been digitised and uploaded into the our online patent system. The collection does not include patents published in the period 1880 to 1890, as patents from that era were not in a format that could be digitised economically.

Each entry is derived from:

  • the abstract printed in the Patent Office Journal from 1912 to 1979 (POJ 1207)
  • the “Supplements to the NZ Gazette” from 1890 to 1912, or
  • earlier compilations, published by order of the New Zealand Parliament, of New Zealand patents issued between 1861 and 1879.

The patent records of this collection may be searched using the Search Patent/Search Patent Case(s) facility of our online system. Note that only a few data fields are populated in these older records. A case will not be found by a search involving a field for data that has not been entered.

Technical details regarding these records and how to search for them are outlined below.

Correlation between data items extracted from printed Journal entry and our system patent record field

The data items captured from the printed abstracts and the correlation between these data items and the patent data fields in the our system are listed below:

Data item from printed journal abstract

Description/entry in IPONZ System Record

Applicable system search field(s)

Digitisation accuracy and general comments

Patent number

Patent (case) number

Case Number(s) (patent)

Manual correction from digitisation ensures error rate is extremely low.

Abstract date

Filing Date, Patent Date, Complete Specification Filing Date, Submission Date

Filing Date, Complete Specification Filing Date, Priority Date

The same abstract date for each patent is assigned to each of these respective system dates.

Abstract patent title

Title, Office Title

Title Only, Office Title Only, or Title/ Office Title/Abstract.

Manual correction of digitisation ensures that the titles are very accurately reproduced.


Composite single applicant, no address(es) recorded.

Applicant/Patentee Name

The patent applicant as printed in the original publication. Several listed applicants are recorded as a single composite applicant in the IPONZ system.


Inventor or inventors, no addresses recorded

Inventor Name

The name(s) of the inventor(s) as printed in the original publication. Each inventor is separately recorded.

Abstract text

Abstract in bibliography page

Abstract Only or Title/ Office Title/Abstract

Basic 95% by word OCR accuracy, punctuation generally ignored.

Abstract drawing

Abstract drawing in bibliography page

Not applicable

Image quality as per original print.

Journal publication date

Published Date

Publication Date

The date the journal was issued and the complete specification was made public.

Journal number

In publication entry on history page tab

Not applicable


Default values for patent data fields

The patent entry in the our system for these older New Zealand patent records will also include default values in the fields on the Bibliographical page as shown in the table below. The related search fields, if applicable, are indicated.

Data field


Search field

Search selection



Case Status

Expired Complete Patent

Application Type

National Complete

Case Type

No selection or Complete Patent

Technology Group


Technology Group

No selection or Unknown


1953 Act or Unknown -for patent cases published earlier than 1st January 1955 when the Patents Act 1953 entered into force.

Not applicable


Granted as patent of Addition


Not applicable


Explanatory notes

  1. No contact details will be recorded, shown or searchable.
  2. No convention or priority details will be shown or generally searchable, though the complete specification filing date of the patent will be recorded as the Priority Date of the patent and will be searchable in the priority date field, and displayed as such in a search result list in the system. The display in the search results shows the earliest known date of the application (priority or filing), so although the priority date for these cases has not been captured, they do have a date which is taken to be the earliest relevant date for the purposes of the priority search.
  3. The History tab will show at least one history type “Patent accepted” displaying the Journal Number of the printed Journal and the publication or issue date of the Journal.
  4. The “journal date” of the original Journal did not always coincide with the “issue date” of the Journal, which may have been weeks or months later. We have recorded the “Journal publication date” and “publication date” to be the issue or publication date of the journal if this is evident from the printed publication, or else as the “journal date”.
  5. The Documents tab will include links to the pdf abstract document, an abstract drawing file, and the complete specification of the patent.
  6. The pdf abstract document is a pdf facsimile of the abstract printed in the original Journal. This document includes further details of the patent such as the convention/or priority date(s) and country and subject matter classification symbols, as well as the published text and drawings of the abstract.
  7. Many abstracts were published without an accompanying drawing. In the IPONZ system this will be indicated by the presence of an abstract drawing that is an image of the words “There is no extract image for this abstract”.
  8. The classification symbols recorded on the abstracts in the printed journals were not IPC symbols, so were not captured. Consequently, these older patents cannot be found by searching for IPC Symbol(s) or IPC Symbol(s) Text in the Patent Search on the IPONZ system.
  9. There are discrepancies in the dates recorded in the system, but these have been minimised as much as possible. For example, the date recorded on the printed abstract has been taken in all cases to be the “abstract date” and entered into the system as the Filing Date, Patent Date, Complete Specification Filing Date, and Submission Date. In the case of applications filed with a provisional specification in the first instance, the printed “abstract date” may in fact have been the filing date of the application, rather than the patent date and complete specification filing date. In the few cases for which no abstract date was printed on the abstract, we have entered an abstract date corresponding to the abstract date of records numbered adjacent to the record of concern, or for very old patents, just the journal publication date.
  10. Various declarations may be displayed that are irrelevant for these older records.