IP Australia delays legislation

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Government will not proceed with legislation designed to align and streamline the processes for obtaining, maintaining and challenging intellectual property rights, pending its response to last year's Productivity Commission report on Australia’s IP arrangements.

IP Australia has consulted widely on the Exposure Draft Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill 2017 and Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Regulations 2017.

The Bill aimed to address the fact patents, trademarks, designs and plant breeder’s rights (PBR) systems have a number of different administrative processes and rules specific to each IP right.

According to the Bill's explanatory memorandum, "A number of these differences are unnecessary or too onerous. Some processes take too long to resolve. This needlessly increases complexity, uncertainty and cost for users of the IP system."

"Using similar processes for the different IP rights will make the IP system simpler and assist businesses dealing with more than one right. A simpler IP system will decrease administration costs for the Australian Government and reduce the regulatory burden for businesses that use it. The Bill will also enable greater use of electronic systems to manage and monitor IP rights," it says.

However, IP Australia has confirmed progress of the Bill is now on hold while stakeholders wait for government to finalise its response to the Productivity Commission report. The delay will ensure parliament does not consider two IP Bills at the same time.

In a series of recommendations, the Productivity Commission called for the winding back of the five-year patent term extension for pharmaceuticals, further limiting data protection, action to prevent incremental patenting - often described as evergreening - and a mechanism to monitor any ‘pay-for-delay’ settlements.