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Standards and Patents

What is a standard?

"A standard is an agreed way of doing something. It could be about making a product, managing a process, delivering a service or supplying materials – standards can cover a huge range of activities undertaken by organizations and used by their customers." BSI

Standards establish specifications and procedures designed to ensure the reliability of the materials, products, methods, and/or services.

Why are they important?

  • They establish consistent protocols that can be universally understood and adopted
  • They enable compatibility and interoperability in product development
  • They make it easier to understand and compare competing products
  • They increase product safety and quality

A short video on standards

A short video on standards:

Standards and the law in NZ

The Standards and Accreditation Act makes provision for standards in New Zealand.

Standards New Zealand, develops, manages, publishes and sells standards in New Zealand.  It is a business unit within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Standards are not mandatory but if they have been referenced in legislation, they become part of the technical regulation framework.

Standards can be:

  • referenced in Acts or regulations as legally mandatory
  • referenced in Acts or regulations as ‘acceptable solutions’ or ‘means of compliance’ – this ensures compliance with legislation but does not prevent the use of an alternative method, provided it meets the specified legislative criteria
  • used by a government agency to detail a required condition of contract with an external supplier
  • incorporated into non-regulatory material as examples of best practice or guidance for industry
  • employed as a means of compliance with industry regulation, for example, specifying requirements for audit certification
  • promoted as a means of dealing with legal liability issues, for example, compliance with various risk management Standards may be cited in court as proof that all reasonable steps were taken.

Standards New Zealand - Regulations and standards


New Zealand standards are organised by ICS (International Classification for Standards) codes managed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).  

International Classification for Standards