Skip to main content Skip to page navigation

In association with

Preparing for intellectual property advice

There’s no replacement for specialist intellectual property (IP) advice and if you think you need it, you should definitely get it. By first preparing yourself, you could potentially save money.

With a bit of time and research, some basic IP actions can be straightforward.

With a bit of time and research, some basic IP actions can be straightforward.

For example, registering a trade mark is doable for most people and typically costs $150 a class. Remember, this only protects you in New Zealand.

Where to get IP advice

IP advice can come in many different forms, so before going straight to a specialist legal firm, you could first try and get help and advice elsewhere.

Other possible sources of IP advice for small businesses include:

  • your accountant
  • your lawyer
  • business mentors
  • Regional Business Partner Network, which pairs businesses with local advisors to identify their development needs, and co-funds training
  • Callaghan Innovation, which co-funds workshops and other forms of IP assistance with its Innovation IP programme (external link)  
  • industry or sector bodies like the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA)
  • business incubators like Upstart, CreativeHQ and the Angel Association
  • banks’ investment advisors.
Many IP experts offer an initial consultation free of charge.

Many IP experts offer an initial consultation free of charge.

If you prepare in advance, you can gather a lot of useful information in this time.

Selecting an advisor

Like any business investment, you should always think about how to get value for your money. It’s a good idea to:

  • Be able to explain your business goals.
  • Have a sense of what you want to spend, but keep an open mind.
  • Shop around for advice – ask those in the know for recommendations.
  • Ask different IP specialists if they offer free initial consultations.
  • Ask if they can send you a customer pack – this might include a sample non-disclosure agreement and list the costs associated with various forms of IP advice.
  • Ask if they work on a billable hour or flat fee basis.
If you’re involved in R&D, Callaghan Innovation can offer guidance on which experts might be the best fit for your business needs.

If you’re involved in R&D, Callaghan Innovation can offer guidance on which experts might be the best fit for your business needs.

The IPONZ service centre can only offer advice around registering your IP.

The IPONZ service centre can only offer advice around registering your IP.

It can’t help you with strategic advice or IP strategies.

Before your first IP meeting

Make sure you can clearly explain:

  1. What your core business is, eg manufacturing irrigation equipment for stone fruit orchards.
  2. Your short and long-term goals, eg selling agricultural equipment in Australia by next June.
  3. The IP budget you have in mind.
  4. Who your main competitor is, or will be in the market you want to operate in. Use Statistics NZ's new  Data for Business website (external link)  to drill into data on your rivals and your customers.
  5. Who your (potential) business partners are.
Before any meeting, ask your advisor what they might want you to bring.

Before any meeting, ask your advisor what they might want you to bring.

Depending on your business goals — and what others are already doing in this space — typical next steps for the IP advisor might include:

  • working out what kind of IP you have, eg trade mark, patent, design
  • doing a search to see if the IP you want is already registered by someone else (if you haven’t done this using online tools such as ONECheck (external link)  or IPONZ’s registers)
  • drafting a patent specification according to your budget and where you want to operate
  • filing an application for you
  • keeping you informed of its progress
  • trying to overcome any issues with your application
  • confirming your application has been accepted and registered
  • monitoring and renewing your IP.

This last step is not essential, but if you’re happy to outsource your IP help, it can be a good idea. Make sure you check what this service costs first.

In New Zealand, only patent attorneys or inventors can write a patent specification.

In New Zealand, only patent attorneys or inventors can write a patent specification.

Applying for a patent and/or design is an IP area where specialist advice is recommended.

How helpful was this information?