Changes to the trade marks and patents legislation

Changes in the Regulations and some remaining changes from the Act take effect from 17 May 2024.

In 2023, Parliament passed the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Regulator Performance) Act 2023 (see Recent Legislative Reforms). Since then, the Governor-General has made the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Regulator Performance) Regulations 2024. These Regulations make minor changes to the Trade Marks and Patents Regulations to help implement the changes made by the Regulator Performance Act. 

These amendments aim to refine Australia's intellectual property (IP) rights system, streamlining use of the system and addressing minor issues and inconsistencies. You can read about the background to these changes on our Recent Legislative Reforms page

Changes to the Trade Marks Act and Regulations 

From 17 May 2024, the Trade Marks Act and Regulations will change to: 

  • Align all grace periods for trade mark renewals to 6 months. If a trade mark is not renewed before the end of its 10-year term, there is a grace period in which the trade mark can be renewed for an extra fee. Currently, some trade marks registered after 10 years receive a longer 10-month grace period. As of 17 May, all grace periods for trade mark renewals will be 6 months.  
  • Enable the restoration of some trade marks which were removed from the register during non-use proceedings. This applies in circumstances where an opponent is granted an extension of time to file evidence or request a hearing, and completes this action. 
  • Modernise how we communicate trade mark information. IP Australia is no longer required to maintain an Official Journal of Trade Marks. Instead, information is required to be published in more user-friendly locations including the Australian Trade Mark Search and IP Australia's website. More information about this change is below.  
  • Clarify that discontinued TM Headstart requests can be revived in certain circumstances.  
  • Update the classification of goods and services in Schedule 1 to the Trade Marks Regulations. This will now reflect the latest version of the NICE Class Headings, an international standard providing guidance on the grouping of goods and services into numbered classes. 

Changes to the Patents Regulations  

From 17 May 2024, the Patents Regulations will also be amended to remove outdated transitional provisions which have had no effect since February 2022. This reflects a similar change made to the Patents Act by the Regulator Performance Act in 2023. 

Changes to the Official Journal of Trade Marks 

The Official Journal of Trade Marks will no longer be the official means by which we communicate Trade Marks Office actions, as of 17 May 2024. Instead, most of this information will be published on the Australian Trade Mark Search. Some information will be published on our website, including approved means of filing and office closure days. Decisions of the Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Disciplinary Tribunal will be published on the Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys website.

The Official Journal of Trade Marks will still be produced for the time being. Historical copies of past Journals will remain accessible. Further updates on discontinuing publication of the Journal will be provided in due course.

For more information, please refer to the Official Notice available at Changes to the publication of trade mark information.

More detail about these changes and how we consulted with you are available.

More detail on Recent Legislative Reforms