Newsletter – January / February 2024

  • Welcome back!
  • Sirpa Verdict
  • GI Law Update
  • Highlights of 2023 – New Zealand Law Awards and Zone Christmas Party
  • Blue Penguin IP

Welcome back!

Welcome to 2024. We trust you had a well-deserved break. We look forward to enhancing our relationships with you all this year.

Sirpa Update

Theodore Doucas and Jeremy Hunter, Principals of Zone Law have been assisting Clive Elliott KC and Sharon Chandra in the ongoing Court of Appeal case for Sirpa Alalääkkölä regarding copyright in her artwork. In the Family Court, the Court found that copyright was Sirpa’s separate property, but the art produced during the marriage was relationship property. Sirpa’s ex-husband appealed that decision to the High Court and with Sirpa not taking part, the Court decided her copyright was relationship property. Zone Law together with Clive Elliott KC then took Sirpa’s case to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal concluded on Wednesday 21 February 2024 that while copyright is “property” for the purpose of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 and should be classified as relationship property, the copyright should remain in Sirpa’s exclusive legal ownership.

This is the first time the Court of Appeal has considered the interface between copyright and relationship property law. We are pleased to have been able to work with Sirpa, Clive and Sharon on such an important case.

GI Law Update

The New Zealand-European Union Free Trade Agreement (NZ-EU FTA) has now entered into force. As a result, the European Union Free Trade Agreement Legislation Amendment Bill has been introduced to Parliament to implement changes to New Zealand law required as part of that agreement.

One key change is the amendment to the Geographical Indications (Wines and Spirits) Registration Act 2006. This will register approximately 2,000 European Union wine and spirit geographical indications (GIs) in New Zealand. The bill will also add new enforcement measures.

However, the bill does not add any new types of products which can be protected as GIs. The protected GIs remain wines and spirits only.

The Bill will also amend the Trade Marks Act 2002, as these new GIs will now need to be considered during the trade mark examination process.

The bill will now make its way through the usual legislative process.

Moving forward, businesses who trade, or intend to trade, in wines and spirits need to carefully consider and review the Register of protected GIs to ensure they are not in breach. Zone is available to assist if you have any questions regarding these proposed updates.

Highlights of 2023

New Zealand Law Awards – Zone Law was nominated for the 9th year running as a finalist in the Intellectual Property Specialist Law Firm of the Year category and recipient of a 2022-2023 Excellence Award.

Christmas function – To celebrate the end of 2023, our Wellington and Auckland staff spent the day enjoying some of the wineries that Martinborough has to offer.

Blue Penguin IP

Zone is proud to be working alongside Dr Jo Shaw and Dr Jon Ashen of Blue Penguin IP on patent matters.

The Zone Group

Contact Zone

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Wellington 6011

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