The IP Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act 2012 is Australia's biggest intellectual property (IP) system overhaul in twenty years. The Act came into full effect on 15 April 2013. These changes have included updates to the following legislative instruments:
- Patents Act 1990
- Patents Regulations 1991
- Trade Marks Act 1995
- Trade Marks Regulations 1995
- Designs Act 2003
- Designs Regulations 2004
- Plant Breeder's Rights Act 1994
- Copyright Act 1968
The changes affect all IP rights and the legislation addresses the following key areas:
- Raising the quality of granted patents: Australia patentability standards are now more closely aligned to international standards.
- 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.
- Reducing delays in resolution of patent and trade mark applications: Changes to the Patent and Trade Mark Acts reduce several timeframes associated with examination and opposition.
- Assisting the operations of the IP profession: Patent and trade mark attorneys now have the ability to register themselves as incorporations.
- 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.
- 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.