Trans-Pacific Partnership Intellectual Property Chapter
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a free trade agreement that will liberalise trade and investment between 12 Pacific-rim countries: New Zealand, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Viet Nam.
It was signed by the 12 countries on 4 February 2016, but has not yet entered into force.
TPP contains an intellectual property chapter that will establish a common set of intellectual property rules for all member countries. While most provisions of the chapter are consistent with New Zealand’s existing intellectual property regime some legislative change is required before we can ratify the agreement.
New Zealand negotiated some flexibility in the way it implements some of the TPP obligations. The Ministry sought public feedback on how the Government proposes to implement the intellectual property changes required to ratify the TPP.
The intellectual property changes have been included in the The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Amendment Bill covering all domestic legislative changes required to ratify TPP. The Bill was introduced to Parliament on 9 May 2016.
The consultation process
On 9 March 2016, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment released a consultation document to seek feedback on how the Government proposes to implement the intellectual property changes required to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement.
The consultation document focused on those areas where New Zealand has some flexibility in how it implements its TPP intellectual property obligations. These include:
- a revised regime for the protections of technological protection measures
- a more extensive regime for performers’ rights
- patent term extensions to compensate for any unreasonable delays in patent grants
- patent term extensions to compensate for any unreasonable delay as a result of Medsafe’s marketing approval process
- new powers for Customs to detain goods that are suspected of infringing copyright or trade marks.
The consultation closed on Wednesday, 30 March 2016. Fifty-five submissions were received, ranging from individuals and user groups to rights’ holders. Submissions were received on all areas of the targeted consultation document. The submissions informed the final policy decisions.