Why review our fees?
We last undertook a fee review in the 2015-16 financial year. The 2019-20 fee review reflects the organisation's commitment to ensuring our cost recovery arrangements continue to be in line with the Australian Government Charging Framework. This review invited public comment on our fee structure, with consideration given to ideas that ensure IP Australia is setting fees that are consistent, transparent and will recover the costs associated with administering the IP Rights system.
We see the Fee Review as a chance to explore how our fee structure might influence several themes. This fee review process will also take into account the Government’s response to the recommendations from the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Australia’s intellectual property arrangements. While not every submission will result in immediate changes to fees, this exploration will feed into a longer-term strategy on policy objectives for future fee reviews.
The fee review will explore several themes including, but not be limited to:
- Supporting innovators by balancing our fees with costs of doing business
- Increasing flexibility and efficiency for IP Australia and our stakeholders
- Exploring the impact fees have on the quality of IP applications and competition in the marketplace
What has occurred?
Over 80 submissions were received and each has been triaged to determine their initial feasibility. From these initial triage workshops, a number of common themes where identified in the submissions:
- Balancing the timing of fees against when effort is applied to administer IP Rights, with the aim of encouraging positive behaviour. For example, considering removing the fee for pre-exam amendments and balance with raising the later amendments.
- Fees that promote the filing of high-quality applications and related documents, which are clear and correct for both Examiners and the general public. Consider incentives to file in a structured data channel or format, or additional fees for excess claims.
- Options to support small to medium enterprises and unrepresented applicants. Of note were avenues where the fee structure (rather than the fees themselves) could reduce administrative burdens. For example, considering if the Qualified Person’s registration fee could extend for three years rather than one.
- Removing uncertainty in the marketplace by focusing on the timeliness of renewals, and the reduction of divisional applications and extensions of time.
- Simplifying and balancing the approved and the preferred means of filing and paying. Furthermore, ensuring fees and payment channels are appropriate levers for encouraging positive behaviour. For example, updating web content rather than fee changes to better support desired behaviour.
- Do the submissions received, support the intent of the PC's recommendations? For example, how simplifying withdrawal processes might support decluttering and removing uncertainty?
- How does IP Australia compare with international operations, in balancing cost with productivity gains enabled through modern technology?
- How can the cost structures and practices within the Hearings sections be aligned across the IP Right Business Groups?
You can read the public submissions here.
What happens next?
Over the coming months submissions will be explored further and their impacts modelled in detail. We will continue to engage with our customers and key stakeholder groups throughout the fee review process. Following our review, a draft Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS) will be made available for further feedback, currently scheduled for December 2019.
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