Examination process

Examination process

Once submitted, your application to register a trade mark will be examined by the following process.

Before filing a trade mark application, consider whether your mark is unique enough to act as a trade mark. You may use any of the following resources to help with your assessment:

1. Application filed

Your trade mark application for registration must meet legal requirements.

See apply for a trade mark.

2. Examination

We examine your trade mark application to make sure it complies with all the requirements of the Trade Marks Act 2002 and the Trade Marks Regulations 2003. We will consider whether your application meets the legal filing requirements, and whether there are grounds that would prevent the registration of your trade mark.

If your mark contains Māori elements, we will refer your application to the Māori Trade Marks Advisory Committee (MTAC). The MTAC will assess your proposed trade mark, and advise whether the use or registration of your mark is likely to offend Māori. We will then consider the MTAC’s advice, as part of the examination of your application.

If we find any issues with your application, we will send you a compliance report outlining these objections, and give you an opportunity to respond within a set timeframe. The deadline for response will be indicated in the report.

If you respond within the timeframe, we will consider your response and re-examine your application. Otherwise, your application will lapse. If you need more time to respond, you can request an extension of time before the deadline passes.

For more information on examination, please see the following pages:

Trade Marks Examination

Responding to a Compliance Report

Request an extension of time to respond

3. Acceptance or refusal

Once your trade mark application complies with all legal requirements, we will accept your application.

If your continued responses are not able to overcome our objections, and we consider that these objections cannot be resolved, we may reject your application.

4. Advertisement of acceptance or opposition

An acceptance notice is advertised in The Journal.

Within three months of the advertised acceptance, a person may oppose the application of the registration of a trade mark in the form it was advertised.

See opposing registration of a trade mark.

If no opposition is raised, then the mark will be registered not less than six months from the date of filing.

5. Registration

After the trade mark application has been accepted and published for opposition purposes, the trade mark will be registered (provided that an opposition has not been filed) three months from the Journal publication date, or six months after the filing date of the application, whichever is later.

6. Renewal

A trade mark registration can be renewed every 10 years. You can request a renewal up to 12 months in advance. See renew a trade mark.

If the trade mark registration isn’t renewed by the due date, the status will be changed to ‘Registered - past expiry date’. The registration may be restored if the renewal fee is paid within the 6-month grace period following the due date.

If the renewal fee is not paid by the expiry of the 6-month grace period, the trade mark registration will expire and may no longer be restored.