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ECTA MEMBER’S VOICE: Revised Geographical Indication Protection Regime Commenced in New Zealand on 1 May
By Nick Holmes, ECTA member, Davies Collison Cave Law, Australia & New Zealand

As of yesterday, 1 May 2024, the use of 1,975 geographical indications was restricted in Aotearoa New Zealand, as its renamed Geographical Indications Registration Act 2006 came into force. This development is based in part upon requirements set out in the European Union-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement and is the first time that European geographical indications for goods other than wines and spirits will be protected against misuse in New Zealand.

European food and beverage manufacturers may be very happy with this news, particularly as the GI Act includes:

1. automatic and enduring protection of geographical indications covered by the Free Trade Agreement against misuse (including in translation or transliteration);

2. enhanced civil and administrative enforcement regimes, which will allow any person “with an interest in upholding the restrictions on use of the registered geographical indication” to commence proceedings in the High Court to seek relief for a breach of a restriction on the use of a registered geographical indication;

3. the creation of GI officers who can enforce compliance with the restrictions on the use of a registered GI;

4. the implementation of border protection measures to allow for New Zealand Customs to investigate, inspect, intercept and detain goods suspected to breach a restriction on use of a GI.

Interestingly, other than in relation to wines and spirits (where the existing procedures continue), it will not be possible to directly register new geographical indications in New Zealand for other agricultural products except through the mechanisms provided in the Free Trade Agreement.

Members working with European geographical indication management authorities should now include New Zealand as part of their enforcement efforts, and brand owners seeking to register marks in New Zealand for food and beverages may need to take extra care, to see if their trade mark contains one of the GIs covered by the GI Act.

The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand has also provided helpful information on these developments, and their impact upon trade mark registration here.


The views expressed are those of our members and not necessarily of ECTA as an association. The content has not been subjected to a verification process, the accuracy of the information contained in the article is responsibility of the author.

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