The forthcoming holiday season is going to be awesome. For one, we all get to go Home For Christmas. My house, I know, will be The Home of Christmas. After a long and busy year I will spend time with my wife and two boys who, too often this year, I have shamefully neglected.

The first thing we will do – as every year – is retrieve the Christmas Tree from our Christmas Cave (aka a dark corner of our shed). Dusting off the Christmas Box we will then take out and hang Christmas Baubles on the tree. Finally, as tradition demands, we will place one of the two Angels we have majestically on top of the tree. There she will sit like a Christmas Rose until 6 January when once again she will be taken down and carefully stored for another 11 months.

When I was growing up on the Isle of Man, we also used to decorate the house with Holly – and frequently prick ourselves in the process. Perhaps it's not such a bad thing that that particular feature of Yuletide & Jubilation did not emigrate with me thirteen years ago. Making a Snowman was also a popular Christmas pastime (provided of course it snowed – which it rarely did back then).

I also loved going from house to house with the 3 Wise Men (my brothers – James, Edward and Matthew) singing (if you could call it that) a Christmas Collection of carols. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and Good King Wenceslas (the polite version) were two particular favourites. And then there was pulling your Christmas Cracker at lunch to find not only your paper crown for the day but possibly the worst joke in history. Ah, what an age it was...filled with stories of Magical Elves and Santa's Christmas Wonderland.

As I reminisce, I can't help but think that commercialisation1 of Christmas has turned Santa's Christmas Wonderland into Santa's Christmas Factory, devoid of the magic it once had. But that's being too cynical – Christmas is still magical, and nowhere is this more evident than in children's faces when they open their little bundles of Elf Magic on Christmas morning.

I am not sure where I will be this year on Christmas Day (although no doubt wherever we are my two boys will be hoping for Breakfast With Father Christmas). If the sun shines, it might a Christmas in the Park, or it might be Christmas in the Bay (Hawkes Bay) with some good friends. One thing is for sure, it won't be Christmas at the Races – watching gee-gees running around a track is not what I think Mr and Mrs Claus have in mind for 25th December. However, Where New Zealand Goes For Christmas is of course an individual thing and each to his/her own. 'Tis the season to be jolly after all.

On that upbeat note, I would like to wish you all a safe and happy Christmas, and a prosperous 2014.

(PS You might be wondering what on earth this article has to do with trade mark infringement2. The article actually contains references to 26 Christmas-related trade marks that are or have at one time been registered in NZ – and as a result of which they can or could have been infringed. I'll let you find them...)


1Refers to the process of introducing a new product or service to the marketplace (whether in New Zealand or overseas). For the purposes of a patent application commercial working can include taking orders for a product or service (even if in confidence). It is important to understand that commercial working of an invention before a patent application is filed may invalidate that patent application (see validity below).

2Refers to the commission of a prohibited act with respect to a patented invention without permission from the patentee. In New Zealand, the Deed of Letters Patent confers on the patentee a monopoly to make, use, vend or exercise the invention in New Zealand. Performing any of these acts without the permission of the patentee will amount to an infringement if the patent is current and in force. Permission will typically be granted in the form of a license. Remedies for infringement can include an injunction to restrain further infringement, payment of damages suffered by the patentee as a consequence of the infringement or payment by the infringer of any profit he/she/it made by virtue of the infringement, and legal costs.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

James & Wells Intellectual Property, three time winner of the New Zealand Intellectual Property Laws Award and first IP firm in the world to achieve CEMARS® certification.