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Although Australasia may traditionally be regarded as a relatively small market, 30 million people is still a sizable market with a multitude of funding and investment opportunities. 
For some reason Australasia slips off the radar when it comes to filing  patent applications, particularly by foreign companies, but James & Wells intellectual property (IP) experts Zhi Ling Zeng and Jason Rogers confirm that it should definitely be on the patent radar for overseas applicants.
“Traditionally, both New Zealand and Australia are seen as being relatively small markets – not justifying the patent spend,”  Zhi Ling says.
“We, however, beg to differ. Australasia has always presented a number of unique opportunities which are not to be overlooked by local or overseas applicants.”
The four reasons James & Wells experts recommend  patent applicants include New Zealand and Australia in their strategy are:
  • The “game changer” Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will make New Zealand a more attractive destination.
  • Australia and New Zealand are sophisticated developed western economies free of corruption.
  • Both countries offer significant government funding and investment opportunities for new companies.
  • Both governments have invested in sophisticated telecommunication networks to facilitate global communication.

Key advantages brought by TPP to Australian and New Zealand companies include:

  • Easy access to new markets.
  • Reducing tariffs by over 90 percent.
  • Reducing business compliance costs.
  • Reducing trade barriers on services and investments.

Although TPP brings advantages to both local and overseas applicants, Zhi Ling and Jason warn that local applicants ought to watch out for:

  • Stronger competition in Australasia as a result of the TPP, e.g. foreign competitors may enter the New Zealand market by undercutting prices on similar technology; and 
  • Risks associated with the greater exposure of their IP upon export to other TPP markets, e.g. technology is now more likely to be copied if there is no enforceable IP protection in place.
“It is becoming even more relevant today for local companies to have patent protection in place, to fend off competition, remain strong in home markets and seek opportunities overseas,” Jason and Zhi Ling say. 
Zhi Ling Zeng is an Associate at James & Wells. She is a Registered Patent Attorney in New Zealand and Australia, as well as practiced as a foreign patent attorney in China and Singapore. 
Jason Rogers is a Principle Partner leading the Patents team of James and Wells. With over 20 years of industry experience, Jason has been involved with an extensive field of technologies including life sciences, software and mechanical specialties.
Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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