Protecting and registering your IP

Protecting and registering your IP

By registering your intellectual property (IP) you are helping protect your businesses position in the market. Registering IP helps you own your ideas, so you can maximise the value of your intangible assets.

Below are some basics you could consider in your journey to IP registration.

Why you should protect your IP

Just like any other type of property, IP is an asset that can be bought, sold, and stolen. Registering your IP is the best way to protect your ideas and claim what’s yours.

Benefits of registered IP

  • By protecting your IP, you can gain a competitive advantage in the market. This can help grow your business
  • Registered IP can be licensed or sold to others
  • Registered IP rights can help a small business to get funding from venture capital grants
  • Registered IP can make your business more valuable, providing benefit if your business is to be sold
  • Registered trade marks can help grow your customers confidence in a brand. Once you have a registered trade mark, no one else can use that name or logo or sign for a similar goods or services.

IP encourages innovation. If your IP isn’t protected, others can use it once it is made public potentially reducing the income you make from it. Registering your IP gives you the exclusive right to your innovation for a certain period of time - creating an incentive for innovation.

IP registration

Registration of your intellectual property (IP), or idea, is something you should consider doing at the start of your business journey. It gives you exclusive rights to your idea and can aid in giving you competitive advantage in the market.

Tips for protecting your IP


Know your idea

Your unique ideas are what sets your business apart from your competitors. Understanding which of your ideas can become registered intellectual property helps you claim what is unique to your company.


Keep your idea confidential

It is important to keep your idea a secret until you have submitted your IP application. So as a basic rule – keep it to yourself until you have applied.


Talk to an IP professional

In many cases, reaching out to an IP professional to help with your IP application is a great idea. They can advise you on the type of protection that may be suitable for your situation, advise on IP strategy, and manage the application process for you.


Check what’s out there in market

Do your research to see if other technology or products are out in the market that are similar to yours. It’s important you make sure your IP doesn’t infringe someone else's, otherwise you could be on the receiving end of legal action.

ip enforcement inhibit coatings image

Inhibit Coatings – From a PhD in Chemistry to world leading antimicrobial technology that can kill a large number of bacteria and viruses. Dr Eldon Tate knew early on he needed to protect his IP. View the full case study

IP enforcement

You are in charge of protecting your IP. If you find someone in market who has copied your idea or is infringing on your space you are best to talk to an IP attorney. They can advise you of the best next steps and act on your behalf. This could involve sending a cease-and-desist letter or advise if further action is required.

The IP application process

The IP application process can be a little complex. If you are planning on scaling up, franchising or exporting, we recommend you get in touch with an IP professional right from the start. Professional advice will help ensure that your concept is defined as broadly as possible to protect you, while ensuring that it is as specific as possible to be accepted.

IP covers what makes your business uniquely yours. It is a good idea to look into this periodically, especially if you have a change in business or are creating something new to ensure you are fully protected. Things can change over time and it is important to ensure your protection remains up to date, especially as your business grows.

It is also important to know, that only an inventor or a registered patent attorney can file a patent application.

Trade marks

Takes a minimum of 6 months to acquire


Takes a minimum of 6 months to acquire

Geographical indications

Takes a minimum of 6 months to acquire


Takes 1 to 15 months to acquire

Plant variety rights

Takes 1 to 5 years to acquire

Searching for existing IP


Search existing IP registers

You can search the IP registers to see what has already been registered, including searching by owner. Patents and designs cannot be registered if they’re in the public domain – so it is good to search more broadly on the internet too. IP professionals can also help with your search.


Exporting your IP overseas

If you are looking to export, it’s important you search in the relevant countries you want to protect your brand in. If you’re considering exporting it’s best to seek professional IP advice to do this check for you.


Setting up a business

If you’re setting up a business, use ONECheck to search for existing trade marks, company names, website domain names, and social media handles that are the same or similar to the one you have in mind.

IP must be registered in each country

Registration of IP across the world is done on a country-to-country basis. This means if you file your trade mark application with the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office, once granted, your trade mark is protected in New Zealand alone. This is the same for granted patents, designs and plant varieties.

If you’re considering exporting and want to protect your IP in different countries across the world, it’s best to get the advice of an IP professional.

Information on international trade marks

Information on international patents

protecting and registering your ip testimonial image

“IP is extremely important. It’s literally your foundation – the concrete of your company”

– Cynthia Hunefeld, Evithé Biotechnology

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Did you know?
One of the longest standing trade marks in New Zealand is for ‘Edmonds Baking Powder’. This trade mark was first registered in 1912 and has been renewed since.