Go to our new-look site, it combines the Biotechnology and Science Learning Hubs with a new look and new functionality. This is our legacy site and is no longer maintained.

Skip to page content

Site navigation

Legal issues

The following issues will need to be considered in the development of your product: Intellectual Property, Regulatory Controls, Environmental Issues and Health and Safety.

Intellectual Property

You will need to consider whether any of the following intellectual property issues are important in the development of your product, either to protect your ideas or to make sure that you do not transgress others’ intellectual property rights.

Get video clip: How plant variety rights protect IP

A government license to an individual or body conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to make, use, or sell an invention.

Get video clip: Reasons for patenting technology

The exclusive legal right to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material.

A symbol, word, or words legally registered or established by use as representing a company or product.

Get video clip: Regulations, consultations and monitoring

Regulatory Controls

You also need to ensure that you abide by state laws and regulations regarding hazardous substances and new organisms.

HSNO — Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act
The Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act was passed in June 1996. It is generally known as the HSNO Act. Its overall objective is to provide a streamlined and up-to-date system for managing risks from hazardous substances and new organisms (including genetically modified organisms) in New Zealand. The HSNO Act and regulations control only hazardous substances imported into or manufactured in New Zealand.

EPA – The Environmental Protection Authority
EPA makes decisions on applications to introduce hazardous substances or new organisms including genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Environmental Issues

You should consider the impact on the environment of the materials, processes and wastes associated with your product’s production as well as the ultimate disposal of any packaging associated with the marketing and sale of the product. You should bear in mind the appropriate regulatory controls (see above) and issues of sustainable use of resources.

Sustainable practices will require you to consider recycling, reusability, renewable versus non-renewable raw materials, and the potential pollution impact of your product’s production, packaging, and final disposal.

Health & Safety

The techniques and procedures used in the production of your product should adhere to the WorkSafe New Zealand (WorkSafe NZ) guidelines for safe workplace practices. WorkSafe NZ can help you assess the risks involved.

A Crown Agent, WorkSafe NZ provides information and guidance to assist New Zealand businesses. It also inspects workplaces to check on safety and health arrangements, investigates accidents at work and makes sure employers and employees comply with health and safety legislation. As of 1 September 2014, WorkSafe New Zealand undertook certain HSNO roles on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is also responsible for regulating the storage and use of hazardous substances, explosives and dangerous goods, and for the safety of amusement devices.


Return to top