Unity of Invention: The Pre- and Post-Grant Rift in Patent Law
New Zealand Law Journal 190-192
Posted: 16 Oct 2017
Date Written: 2017
Late in 2016, the New Zealand Parliament passed the Patents Act (Trans-Tasman Patent Attorneys and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2016. The Act forms part of a larger scheme to create a Single Economic Market (SEM) in Australia and New Zealand, arising from a joint statement of intent issued by the then Prime Ministers John Key and Kevin Rudd, in August 2009. The Act was also used as a vehicle to correct an “error” in the Patents Act 2013. Under the 2013 Act as originally enacted, the grounds for opposition, re-examination and revocation were made uniform. One of the requirements is that the claims of a specification relate to one invention. That is, every patent application should only embody a single invention. This is also referred to as the requirement of “unity of invention”. According to the Government, this was an error, as it was never intended that one should be able to object to a patent application on the basis of lack of unity of invention. This article examines the passing of the Patents Act (Trans-Tasman Patent Attorneys and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2016 and the inconsistency that has been introduced between pre- and post-grant procedures and why this is illogical. The article, furthermore, critically discusses the various comments made regarding unity of invention during parliamentary debates.
Keywords: patent lw, unity of patent, New Zealand
JEL Classification: K11, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation