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New Zealand designs law: The case for reform

This article is about New Zealand designs law, considered in an international and comparative context. It argues that New Zealand designs law is unsustainable and in need of reform. New Zealand is a small jurisdiction with a relatively small manufacturing industry, and New Zealand is a net importer of technology. Yet New Zealand operates a designs regime which is more protective of design than jurisdictions with proportionately much larger manufacturing and design based industries. Designs regimes in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom and Europe are all less protective and more conducive to competition and innovation than the existing New Zealand regime. New Zealand operates a designs law regime which is over-protective, which excessively interferes with healthy competition to the disadvantage of consumers, and which imposes excessive burdens on second-comers and follow-on innovation. New Zealand's designs regime also significantly disadvantages New Zealand designers as compared with non-resident designers, and creates obstacles to exporters. The article reviews the international law framework for designs protection, and the regimes in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom and Europe. It argues that reform of the New Zealand designs regime is now overdue, and reviews the reform proposals and processes that have been undertaken over the last two decades.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Kingsbury, A. (2009). New Zealand designs law: The case for reform. Intellectual Property Quarterly, 3, 345-372.
Thomson Reuters
This article has been published in the journal: Intellectual Property Quarterly. © 2009 Thomson Reuters Ltd and the author. Used with permission.