The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act has passed into law with the Governor General's assent on 15 April 2012. Most provisions in the Act come into effect on 15 April 2013. However, the following changes applied immediately on 15 April 2012:
- Regulatory use exemption from patent infringement for non-pharmaceutical patents
- Experimental use exemption from patent infringement
Why change anything?
Intellectual property is the currency of today's knowledge economy.
In order to strike a balance between public and private interests, the IP system must support and encourage innovation. The purpose of the reforms is to make improvements to the legislation that covers IP rights.
So what's being done?
Raising the Bar addresses six key areas:
- Raising the quality of granted patents: the new standards will be more closely aligned with international standards, giving innovators more certainty when applying for protection overseas.
- Free access to patented inventions for regulatory approvals and research: ensuring experimentation and approval for generic manufacturers is not delayed or negatively impacted by patents. This gives certainty to researchers and manufacturers and allows them to work without worrying about patent litigation.
- Reducing delays in resolution of patent and trade mark applications: the Act tightens up the procedures for patent and trade mark oppositions and patent divisional applications. This removes the option to exploit the system by delaying the process.
- Assisting the operations of the IP profession: the Act allows Australian patent and trade marks attorneys to incorporate. This gives them greater freedom in their business.
- Improving mechanisms for trade mark and copyright enforcement: the Act increases the penalties for trade mark infringement, bringing the Australian system into line with our major trading partners. Other changes will make it harder for counterfeiters, by improving the system for confiscating goods at the border.
- Simplifying the IP system: the Act gets rid of unnecessary hurdles and simplifies the application process. These changes are designed to make the IP system easier to use in a global setting.
Who will the reforms affect?
The reforms in the Raising the Bar Act will:
- benefit the Australian public by supporting new technology in areas such as healthcare, food and the environment.
- give confidence to exporters that the IP rights obtained in Australia will help them protect their innovations overseas.
- give innovators more confidence that their patent rights will withstand legal challenges.
- allow researchers to conduct their research with the certainty that they aren't infringing on the patent rights of others.
- help small to medium sized businesses to make the most of their IP by reducing red tape and having harsher penalties to stop competitors from copying their registered logos and brands.
- give the attorney profession the flexibility to structure their businesses and services to meet their needs and those of their clients.
- make sure our customers have access to a simplified and effective IP system.
On 25 February 2013, Minister for Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet, provided his support to the final Intellectual Property Legislation Amendment (Raising the Bar) Regulation 2013 which provides important detail to the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act 2012.
The Regulation was sent to the Federal Executive Council and on 14 March the Governor-General of Australia gave her approval acting on the advice of the Council.
Although the Regulation is approved, it will not officially come into effect until 15 April 2013.
The final Regulation was developed in consultation with the public to shape more efficient and flexible processes that will support the IP industry. You can view the authoritative version of the Regulation and the accompanying Explanatory Statement on the ComLaw website.
The count down is on to 15 April 2013 when the Raising the Bar Act comes in to full effect. This is a comprehensive change process. Below is a snapshot of what we will provide over the coming months.
Detailed fact sheets of key issues
Early April 2013
Changes to Auspat in relation to terminology around 'sealed' to 'granted'.
23 March 2013
eServices forms for National Phase Entry, Standard Patent Application and Request for Examination will be updated to include the Statement of Entitlement and voluntary Preliminary Search and Opinion functionality. The Business to Business (B2B Portal) functionality will also be updated at this time.
23 March 2013
Updates to manuals of practice and procedure for examination
Updates to publications, journals and other notices
Implementation of changes
Frequent updates on our website.
We appreciate your ongoing feedback, questions and suggestions as we undertake this process. Please use the emails included in the table above.
Patent applications will NOT be subject to the raised patent standards in the new Act if a request for examination is filed before 12 months from the date of assent. However, some procedural changes will apply to existing applications automatically from 15 April 2013.
- The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act 2012
- IP Reforms - Top issues that may affect you
- Final Regulations for IP Reforms
- Raising the Bar - Regulations Reaching the Final Stage
- Outcomes from public consultation for IP Regulations
- IP Reforms Guide - January 2013
- Subscribe to our mailing list to keep up to date with what is happening at IP Australia
- IP reforms crack down on fake brands
- Business and Researchers - the big winners from IP reforms
- Aussie researchers receive boost with IP reforms
- Electronic press kit for journalists
- Terminology changes for Patents
- Trade mark opposition changes
- Reduced time frames for Patents
- Changes to Patent examination
- Changes to patentability standards
- Notice of Entitlement for patents
- Patent oppositions changes
- Patent search fees
- Removing the concept of 'service' for oppositions
Changes to each Act
- Patent Act changes
- Trade Mark Act changes
- Designs Act changes
- Plant Breeder's Rights Act changes
- Copyright Act changes
- Schedule 1 - Raising the quality of granted patent
- Schedule 3 - Reducing delays in resolution of patent and trade mark applications
- Schedule 4 - Assisting the operations of the IP profession
- Schedule 5 - Improving mechanisms for trade mark and copyright enforcement
- Schedule 6 - Simplifying the IP system
Last Updated: 01/5/2013