16 January 2014


IP Australia has announced a quick turnaround consultation regarding draft legislation to amend the Patents Act 1990 (Cth), Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth), Designs Act 2003 (Cth) and the Plant Breeder's Rights Act 1994 (Cth).

The proposed amendments considered in the consultation paper [PDF]  are to:
  •  implement the Protocol amending the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS Protocol), enabling Australian medicine producers to manufacture and export patented pharmaceuticals to countries experiencing health crises, under a compulsory licence from the Federal Court 
  • extend the jurisdiction of the former Federal Magistrates Court to the Federal Circuit Court to include plant breeder's rights matters 
  • allow for a single trans-Tasman patent attorney regime and single patent application and examination processes for Australia and New Zealand, as part of the broader Single Economic Market (SEM) agenda 
  • make minor administrative changes to the Patents, Trade Marks and Designs Acts to repeal unnecessary document retention provisions that are already adequately governed by the Archives Act 1983 (Cth)
  • make minor technical amendments to the Patents Act to correct oversights in the drafting of the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act 2012 (Cth) passed in March 2012.
Regrettably but unsurprisingly IP Australia hasn't unpacked the intellectual property provisions in the upcoming TransPacific Partnership Agreement.