A future single examination process for patent applications made in both Australia and New Zealand was jointly announced by Prime Ministers Julia Gillard and John Key on 16 February 2011. This development follows creation of the Trans-Tasman Outcomes Implementation Group in 2009 and extends the intellectual property Single Economic Market (SEM) outcomes. Other anticipated outcomes include single trade mark and plant variety rights regimes.
While taking into account the separate national laws, the combined examination process will nevertheless result in separate Australia and New Zealand patents.
Anticipated advantages of the combined process include providing a simplified and more convenient procedure for patent applicants to protect their intellectual property (IP) in both countries, and a reduction in duplicated workload at the respective Patent Offices.