New Zealand: Thoughts for the New Year, by Kate Wilson
Last Updated: 15 January 2014

Kate Wilson was requested by the Waikato Business News to put her comments forward for what lies ahead in the New Year

2014 will be an awesome year, as Kiwi businesses throw off the shackles fettering them, such as business confidence and the world economy.

Bold statement I know, but there are good reasons to back this.

Firstly, James & Wells are in the innovation space, and as such we are a great economic predictor. We draft around a quarter of all patent1 applications for Kiwis so we get a good vibe as to what is happening throughout the country. Traditionally when our patents team is busy (and ours has been stupendously so), then the economy lifts around six months later.

While Kiwis are great innovators, we are not so great at getting the best possible bang for our innovation buck. Fortunately, there appears to be a groundswell of commentators (Cameron Bagrie, Shaun Hendy, Allan Main and Tony Smale to name a few) recognising this and analysing why. The key conclusion is that there needs to be greater awareness of intellectual property2 so that Kiwis can make the most of their clever stuff – which incidentally is around 80% of the value of a business.

Having external business commentators take up the cause will hopefully result in a greater acceptance3 by businesses in this critical area.

Finally, the economic indicators (separate to our anecdotal ones) are that the NZ economy will grow strongly in 2014.

Putting it all together, we have increased innovation (a strong indicator of business confidence), general growth in the economy predicted, and if Kiwis are smart enough to heed the call to look after their intellectual property, we can make the most of the opportunities in 2014.

This article first appeared in the Waikato Business News and was written by Kate Wilson, Owner4, James & Wells. Based in the Hamilton office, Kate is ranked in the world's top 300 IP strategists. For more information or for expert IP5 advice contact Kate on Email: katew@jaws.co.nz or Phone +64 7 957 5660 or 0800 INNOV8.

Footnote

1A proprietary right in an invention which provides the owner with an exclusive right for up to 20 years to make, sell, use or import the invention. In exchange for this monopoly the patent is published so that others can see how the invention works and build on that knowledge. The patented invention may also be used by the public once the patent lapses.
2Refers to the ownership of an intangible thing - the innovative idea behind a new technology, product, process, design or plant variety, and other intangibles such as trade secrets, goodwill and reputation, and trade marks. Although intangible, the law recognises intellectual property as a form of property which can be sold, licensed, damaged or trespassed upon. Intellectual property encompasses patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
3Refers to the status of a patent application which has been examined by the receiving office (in New Zealand, the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand or IPONZ) and given conditional approval. The application will then typically be advertised in the Patent Office Journal for a brief period to enable third parties to lodge an objection to grant (known as an opposition).
4A legal term to describe a person entitled to make an application for a patent. In New Zealand this includes any person claiming to be the true and first inventor, the assignee of the inventor, or the legal representative of a deceased inventor or his/her assignee.
5Refers to the ownership of an intangible thing - the innovative idea behind a new technology, product, process, design or plant variety, and other intangibles such as trade secrets, goodwill and reputation, and trade marks. Although intangible, the law recognises intellectual property as a form of property which can be sold, licensed, damaged or trespassed upon. Intellectual property encompasses patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.

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