The Government has released its response to the Productivity Commission’s 2016 report on Australia’s IP arrangements (PC report).
Many of the IP recommendations require amendments to the legislation that IP Australia is responsible for. IP Australia proposes to implement these recommendations in a staged manner through two separate Bills. These Bills will be developed over the coming couple of years, and public consultation will take place on these Bills separately.
1. IP Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission response Part 1 and other measures) Bill
Subject to Government approval, this Bill will include a number of accepted recommendations from the PC report including, phasing out of the innovation patent system, the plant breeder’s rights (PBR) recommendation and the majority of the trade marks recommendations.
This Bill will also include a number of other high-priority trade mark and PBR issues, and some measures from the previously consulted on draft Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill 2017. Remaining measures from the draft IP Laws Amendment Bill 2017 have been put on hold pending further consideration at a later date.
Consultation on an exposure draft of this Bill and associated Regulations is now underway, and the Bill is intended for introduction to Parliament in early 2018. The consultation period closes on 4 December 2017.
2. IP Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission response Part 2 and other measures) Bill
Subject to Government approval, this Bill will include a number of accepted recommendations from the PC report where further consultation on the implementation approach is needed. These include the inventive step reforms, introducing an objects clause into the Patents Act 1990, and changes to Crown use and compulsory licensing of patents and designs. In addition, it is proposed that a number of technical fixes and red-tape reducing measures will also be included in this Bill.
Consultation on a number of policy proposals planned to be included in this Bill occurred from 30 August to 17 November 2017. Subject to Government priorities, the Bill is intended for introduction to Parliament in 2018. Further consultation on an exposure draft of this Bill is also anticipated in 2018 prior to introduction.