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In 2017 the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) was ranked number one in the world for online capabilities by World Trade Mark Review. The ranking was based on e-filing, website access and reliability, and third party database and office-actions offerings.

IPONZ has a range of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) services that offer intellectual property (IP) attorneys a direct access to IPONZ data and services. This is a significant contributor to the recent ranking.

The development of APIs was one of many outcomes from the 2012 IPONZ business transformation project that saw IPONZ shift to a 100% online business model.

IPONZ is responsible for the examination, registration, and maintenance of intellectual property (IP) rights in New Zealand. It is an important role, helping to grow the New Zealand economy by supporting individuals and businesses to protect their intellectual property rights and to realise the economic potential of their creativity.

Prior to 2012, IPONZ was facing a number of significant challenges. Burdened with an ageing technology system and processes largely using paper based transactions, customer service relied on heavily manual processes and associated high costs.

The transformation project was underpinned by innovative IT solutions, and delivered the following outcomes to IPONZ:

  • Successfully eliminated paper based administrative tasks. IPONZ was the first IP Office to move 100% online. This reduced compliance burdens and costs for IPONZ and our clients.
  • Achieved a shift in the focus of the organisation from administrative processing to a focus on the core business of examination and ensuring the integrity of the IP registers.
  • Supported staff by introducing advanced searching tools for examiners to:
    • produce higher quality results creating more robust IP rights for owners,
    • and (at the same time) reduce examination time.
  • IPONZ opened up its data and information to allow greater transparency and accountability for the organisation.
  • Introduced self-service options for clients and gave more control to them – reducing their transaction costs.
  • Another outcome was that IPONZ achieved ISO accreditation for the quality management of services. IPONZ was the first IP Office in the world to move to the most recent, 2015 ISO standard.

Awards for the transformation and 100% online system, include: 2012 Grafton "Driving Transformational Change Award", and the 2013 IPANZ Gen-i Public Sector Excellence Awards "Improving Public Value through Business Transformation".

"The online model cuts down on processing times, removes the need for paper filing, and reduces compliance burdens." Hon. Craig Foss, Commerce Minister 2011–2017

In addition to efficiency gains, IPONZ has also gained many opportunities to participate and influence at the international level based on its reputation for change management, legislative reform, and modern client-centric service-design. These include participating in the development and testing of e-PCT services, and invitations to international panels and forums.

With a focus on creativity and innovative ways of carrying out business, IPONZ has continued developing its services.

The following is a current range of APIs offered by IPONZ:

  • Submit applications for trademarks, designs, and patents (PCT only).
  • Renew trademarks, designs, and patents.
  • Pay the maintenance fee for patent applications.
  • Get information from trade mark, design, and patent registers.
  • Retrieve documents.
  • Get details of all discussions and tasks for your organisation.
  • Respond to examination tasks for trademarks, designs, and patents.

"The APIs produced by IPONZ are revolutionary. New Zealand can stand proud by the innovation displayed by their government… The API path forged by IPONZ sets the standard for what a modern IP Office needs in its offerings to its citizens," says Simon Saunders, Head of IT & Systems, IPH Services.

Currently IPONZ makes data more available, for example IPONZ exchanges register data with a number of international organisations. For example, searching databases, such as the Global Brands Database are updated overnight with IPONZ information.

"We are proud of our API offerings, and the mix of services our business transformation has provided overall, reflecting years of effort by many. We consider it a good investment and we continue to see benefits for us and our clients. IPONZ will continue to grow, building on our transformation from ageing processes to world leading IP services," says Vanessa Horne, IPONZ National Manager.

Though registering IP rights in New Zealand is easier than ever before, IPONZ continues to explore how to offer better services to New Zealanders at significantly lower cost.

This initiative was created as part of the Better for Business collective.

Better for Business: 10 agencies — one vision

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