CPTTP introduces amendments to the New Zealand Copyright Act and Trade Marks Act

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The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP) introduces amendments to the New Zealand Copyright Act and Trade Marks Act which came into effect on 30 December 2018.

The changes brought about by the CPTPP are consistent with New Zealand’s existing legislation. These changes will be welcomed by owners of intellectual property rights as they reinforce the already strong rights those owners enjoy under the Trade Marks Act and Copyright Act.

Most notably, the CPTPP gives copyright and trade mark owners a better chance in the fight against counterfeiting through stronger border protection.

CPTTP amendments to the New Zealand Trade Marks Act 2002

The CPTTP amendments to the New Zealand Trade Marks Act reinforce the rights of trade mark owners, especially in relation to counterfeit goods (for which an express definition is now provided in the Act). It also gives the New Zealand Customs Services broader powers.

In addition to compensatory damages that the courts may currently award for trade mark infringement, the courts may now grant additional damages to reflect the flagrancy of the infringement or any benefit accrued to the infringer.

Unless exceptional circumstances exist, the courts must order the destruction of the counterfeit goods (goods that bear an infringing sign). Over labelling/stickering or simply removing the infringing mark from the counterfeit goods will no longer be an option.

The New Zealand Customs Service now has authority to inspect and detain any goods in its control suspected of being counterfeit; i.e. whether they are being exported or imported and whether a Customs Notice is already in place (rightsholders are given three days whilst the suspected goods are being detained to put such Notice in place).

CPTTP amendments to the New Zealand Copyright Act 1994

Only some of the copyright provisions of the CPTTP have been introduced into the New Zealand Copyright Act. More are expected to come later. This is due in part to the New Zealand Government currently undertaking a full review of the Copyright Act (separately from the CPTTP).

The CPTTP amendments introduce stronger border protection provisions equivalent to those implemented under the Trade Marks Act.

Unless exceptional circumstances exist, the courts must order the destruction of counterfeit goods. Over labelling/stickering or simply removing the infringing part (a logo e.g.) from the counterfeit goods will no longer be an option.

The New Zealand Customs Service now has authority to inspect and detain any goods in its control suspected of being pirated; i.e. whether they are being exported or imported and whether a Customs Notice is already in place (rightsholders are given three days whilst the suspected goods are being detained to put such Notice in place).

The CPTTP amendments also strengthen performers’ rights, both economic and moral, in relation to sound recordings and music used in films. Performers now have rights akin to those of copyright owners (traditionally the composer of a musical work or the recording company). This allows them to grant licences (so they can control the exploitation/use of recordings) and better fight against illicit recordings.