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Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill 2013

The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill 2013 has been introduced to parliament today.

This Bill follows the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 2012 that commenced on 15 April 2013. See here for the legislative changes for trademarks that may affect you.

There are a few elements to the Bill that has been introduced today:

Crown use of patents

The Patents Act 1990 currently sets out provisions for Crown use of patents. The Bill will amend this Act to clarify these provisions further. It is intended to strengthen accountability.

The TRIPS Protocol

Again, the Patents Act will amended by this Bill so as to implement the TRIPS Protocol. This protocol was accepted by Australia about six years ago now, and aims to assist developing countries that are affected by serious health and medical issues such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

TRIPS stands for “trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights“. You can read more about this Protocol at the World Trade Organisation’s website.

Plant breeder’s rights

The Bill will amend the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act to enable owners of such rights to instigate action against infringers through the Federal Circuit Court (formerly the Federal Magistrates Court). This could prove convenient for plant breeders, as it’s often less costly and less time consuming than having to progress through the Federal Court.

Trans-Tasman Single Economic Market

The Bill provides amendments to see a single trans-Tasman patent attorney regime being in place. Patent holders and inventors in both Australia and New Zealand would likely benefit from such a system.The regime would include common qualifications for registration as a patent attorney, a single trans-Tasman board and disciplinary tribunal. The amendments would also allow for a single patent application and examination process – effectively, a single pathway to patent protection.

Technical amendments

There are some minor or technical changes to the Patents Act, to address minor matters that were not noticed in the Intellectual Property Amendment Act 2012. The amendments will simply clarify and ensure the Amendment Act operates as intended.

Miscellaneous administration

There are also some minor administrative amendments to Patents, Trademarks And Designs Acts in Australia. The amendments serve to remove unnecessary rules about document management.Such ‘rules’ are already covered by the Archives Act 1993. The Amendments Bill will ensure that the disposal of such documents is government solely by the Archives Act.

 

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