Monthly Archive: June 2019

Commitment to Innovation in the New Zealand Budget

The New Zealand government published its 2019 budget on 30th May.

The Wellbeing Budget looks at social, environmental and economic factors as a whole, addressing not only present needs, but ensuring long-term implications are considered as well.  Initiatives include supporting innovation, social and economic opportunities, as well as transitioning to a sustainable and low-emissions economy.

Below are a number of programmes that will benefit from this year’s budget.


Industry 4.0 Demonstration Network

Industry 4.0 refers to automation and data exchange in manufacturing.  Technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and the internet of things are applicable here.

Just under NZ$6.8m, over four years, has been allocated for an Industry 4.0 Demonstration Network that includes a mobile industry showcase and two ‘smart factories’, that businesses and individuals can visit in order to learn more about the technologies and concepts.


New Zealand Food Innovation Network

The New Zealand Food Innovation Network is a national network of resources and expertise to support food and/or beverage businesses, that can help take new products and processes all the way from ideas to commercial success.

The budget has allocated over NZ$9.5m, over two years, to this network.


Technology Incubators

Aotearoa’s Technology Incubators provide investment and active support to commercialise complex, hi-tech technologies.

NZ$25.5m has been allocated from the Wellbeing Budget to support the commercialisation of innovation, which includes funding towards these Technology Incubators.


NZ Product Accelerator

The NZ Product Accelerator, from the University of Auckland, bridges the gap between research and commercialisation in the material sciences and manufacturing fields.

Bioresource Processing Alliance

The Bioresource Processing Alliance engages in primary sector bioprocessing in New Zealand, to get better value out of biological waste streams.

Together, these two initiatives have received NZ$18m to continue.


Gracefield Innovation Quarter

Located in Lower Hutt (to the north-east of Wellington), Gracefield Innovation Quarter is an industrial suburb where resident businesses can benefit from access to specialist facilities and expertise to support them.

NZ$75m has been released by the budget towards the redevelopment of the site.



New Zealand is a centre of hi-tech innovation and creativity, producing many cutting-edge technologies, companies and associated intellectual assets.

It’s encouraging to see the government supporting such initiatives and I encourage everyone with a connection to New Zealand to support these initiatives in turn, to make the most of the opportunities they provide.

Alistair Curson



Bioresource Processing Alliance. “Bioresource Processing Alliance”. Retrieved June 20, 2019, from:

Callaghan Innovation. (2019, May 29). “Technology Incubators”. Retrieved June 20, 2019, from:

Callaghan Innovation. (2019, May 31). “Budget 2019 signals strong commitment to innovation and high-value tech”. Retrieved June 18, 2019, from:

Callaghan Innovation. (2019, June 12). “Gracefield Innovation Quarter”. Retrieved June 20, 2019, from:

Corner S. (2019, May 31). “New Zealand budget gives Industry 4.0 a $NZ6.8m boost”. Retrieved June 20, 2019, from:

New Zealand Food Innovation Network. (2019). “Supporting the Development of the New Zealand Food & Beverage Industry”. Retrieved June 20, 2019, from:

NZ Product Accelerator. “About Us”. Retrieved June 20, 2019, from:

NZ Product Accelerator. “The Manufacturing Materials Network”. Retrieved June 20, 2019, from:

The Treasury Te Tai Ōhanga. (2019, May 30). Budget 2019. Retrieved June 18, 2019, from:

The Treasury Te Tai Ōhanga. (2019, May 30). Budget at a Glance: The Wellbeing Budget. Retrieved June 18, 2019, from:

Wikipedia. (2019, June 17). “Industry 4.0”. Retrieved June 20, 2019, from:

Smart IP Rights – The Future of IP Enforcement?

Last month, IP Australia and its partner Agile Digital won three awards at the Digital Canberra iAwards for their Smart Trade Mark.

As the global marketplace becomes more and more complex so too do the supply chains operating within it.  In parallel, there is increasing attraction and potential for counterfeiting activities, as well as opportunities for those wishing to profit from gaps and inaccurate information within these supply chains.  Global sales of counterfeit goods were determined at USD$1.2 trillion in 2017, projected to reach USD$1.82 trillion by 2020, and are currently estimated to already exceed USD$1.5 trillion per year.


What is Smart IP?

The Smart Trade Mark concept is the first in a series of Smart Intellectual Property (IP) Rights being developed by IP Australia, to support and protect inventors, entrepreneurs and businesses operating on the global stage.

Smart IP Rights are a digital representation or “fingerprint” of an owner’s IP.  They create a connection and a thread of online information between the IP right on the official IP register and relevant digital services, thereby supporting owners in enforcing their IP rights.


How Does Smart IP Work?

The concept behind the system is that goods are scanned and tracked as they move through a supply chain using:

  • A series of APIs (application programming interfaces) for connecting digital and online services;
  • Mobile apps, and;
  • Blockchain technology – an open and distributed internet-based record of transactions that cannot be altered without the entire network being made aware and providing their consent

Essentially it is a “track and trace” solution that includes IP and government authenticity stamps, as well as clear information as to the origin of goods.

The system also provides further protection through its use of notifications.  All events and locations are recorded within the blockchain as the goods pass through the supply chain.  Any suspicious activity is notified to the legitimate parties concerned.

Using this information, the Smart IP system also serves to provide greater insight and intelligence around counterfeiting activity within global supply chains.


Current State of the Technology

The project is still in its early days, but has already completed two proof-of-concept pilots where products were successfully tracked between supplier and consumer across borders.

The findings of the trials are helping to formulate the Smart IP Rights strategy as well as guiding the next stages of the project, which are likely to include a pilot application using the available APIs and blockchain systems.


Potential Future Applications

There is growing interest around the world, including active projects at, for example, the European Patent Office, concerning the application of blockchain technology for the management and enforcement of IP Rights across their entire life cycle.

Potential areas of application include:

  • Managing the ownership of IP and the transfer of assignments
  • Smart contracts for licensing
  • IP audits and due diligence
  • IP transactions, including mergers and acquisitions
  • Evidence of genuine and/or first use in trade and commerce

The Smart Trade Mark could be applied to a wide range of products and goods, and the broader concept of Smart IP has the potential to speed up and improve the efficiencies of multiple processes necessary for effective IP portfolio management in the 21st century.

Although the Smart Trade Mark is currently only available for Australian rights, it is exciting to see tangible projects being conducted that bring the concept closer to real-world applications.

I would encourage New Zealand, with its strong high-tech sector, to participate as a leading party to making the whole concept of Smart IP a global reality.

Alistair Curson



Clark B. (2018, February). “Blockchain and IP Law: A Match made in Crypto Heaven?”. Retrieved June 02, 2019, from:

CSO. (2019, May 24). “IP Australia wins three iAwards for innovative blockchain trade mark technology”. Retrieved June 01, 2019, from:

Curson A. (2018, October 05). “Blockchain and the New Zealand Agtech Industry”. Retrieved June 02, 2019, from:

IP Australia. (2019, May 23). “IP Australia’s Smart Trade Mark sweeps the Canberra iAwards”. Retrieved June 01, 2019, from:

IP Australia. (2019, May 24). “Smart Trade Mark”. Retrieved June 01, 2019, from:

Research and Markets. (2018). “Global Brand Counterfeiting Report, 2018”. Retrieved June 01, 2019, from:

Rossow A. (2018, July 24). “How Can We Make Intellectual Property Rights ‘Smarter’ With the Blockchain?”. Retrieved June 02, 2019, from:

Wang B. (2018, March 31). “Moving towards blockchain registration control of Patents and Intellectual Property”. Retrieved June 02, 2019, from:

Wikipedia. (2019, May 31) “Blockchain.” Retrieved June 02, 2019, from: