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Result 9 Case Study 3

The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) is the government agency responsible for the granting and registration of intellectual property (IP) rights. For more information on the IPONZ work, including its business transformation, and IP registration, specifically patent, trade mark, design and plant variety rights, see http://www.iponz.govt.nz/cms.

The Better Public Services Result 9 programme, led by MBIE, involves a number of government agencies, including Inland Revenue, Statistics New Zealand, ACC, New Zealand Customs Service, NZ Trade and Enterprise, the Ministry for Primary Industries and Callaghan Innovation.

The programme focus is on supporting New Zealand businesses to succeed, by making it easier for them to deal with government.

This programme is strongly supported by the work of the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ), which is responsible for the examination, registration and maintenance of intellectual property (IP) rights, including patents, trade marks, designs and plant variety rights. IP rights are an important asset for any business and can often be a business’s most valuable asset.

IPONZ has made it easier, and cheaper, for clients to do business with it by streamlining and simplifying its business processes and moving to a 100% online business model – a world first for an IP Office.

IPONZ achieved this goal through its  recent business transformation project. At the heart of the IPONZ business transformation was the introduction of its world-leading online case management system. The new system has improved the way businesses interact with IPONZ and given businesses far greater control over their IP applications and rights, all with the aim of building a stronger and more competitive New Zealand economy.

Historically, dealing with IPONZ involved a large volume of paper-based transactions but the ambitious transformation within IPONZ has enabled it to deliver better services to clients through innovative technology and refocusing on the organisation’s core examination role rather than managing back-office administrative tasks. IPONZ now puts the clients at the centre of everything it does and in doing so has created a world class service, with New Zealand IP application processing times among the fastest worldwide.

IPONZ is also one of the leading agencies in providing government-to-business web services, which it provides to high-volume clients, such as law firms, patent attorney firms and renewals agencies. The use of web services has benefited both IPONZ and its clients, who enjoy significant cost savings and improved quality.

The new IPONZ focus away from administration to examination services also contributes to improved examination quality as IPONZ examiners now have more time to focus on their core examination responsibilities and to provide greater value to clients.

The system also provides new and useful self-service options and gives businesses improved access to, and control over all of their IP applications and registrations, leading to reduced transaction costs.

Clients can update and maintain their own contact details and follow an online workflow system to complete applications and monitor case progression through their very own IPONZ inbox. They can manage their own messages from IPONZ by creating their own subscription for notifications about specific cases or changes to processes.

Not only are IP applications filed online, this complete digital delivery ensures all correspondence is now electronic and all transactions and communication take place in ‘real time’. In an industry where ensuring filing deadlines are met is critical, receiving an instant receipt message and being able to immediately view and verify documents filed with IPONZ within the case management system provides greater certainty and peace of mind for businesses.

IPONZ efficiencies have allowed New Zealand to be one of the few countries that does not charge a fee for certifying international trade mark applications – clients have cited their experience with IPONZ as confirming their belief that New Zealand is the best place in the world to start and operate a business.

The new IPONZ business system is recognised by the World Intellectual Property Organization as one of the most innovative and advanced in the world, with features not found in any other IP office including:

  • ‘Real Time’ resolution of issues for IPONZ and clients
  • Integration with other government services, such as the NZ Companies Register, RealMe/iGovt and NZ Post address files.
  • Exclusively electronic transactions with WIPO for international trade marks..

Quick facts

Online filing

July 2011

June 2012

June 2013

Trade Mark












Plant Variety Right




The success of the changes IPONZ has made to its services were recognised in 2013 when it was joint-winner of the Institute of Public Administration of New Zealand (IPANZ) award for Improving Public Value through Business Transformation.

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