Last updated: 
16 April 2019

IP Australia's policy issue register is a list of issues that we are considering or working on for policy action or legislative amendment.

Issues come to our attention as a result of:

  • government priorities
  • recommendations from IP related reviews
  • stakeholder suggestions
  • international developments
  • internal proposals.

The issues relate to the IP rights we administer: patents, trade marks, designs and plant breeder's rights (PBR).

Why this register is important

This register aims to enhance public participation in government decision making. This is consistent with the Government's Open Government National Action Plan.

We invite feedback on each individual issue with an accompanying form. You can also submit new policy issues for our consideration. Issues on this register are being considered. This does not mean that any legislative or policy changes will necessarily take effect.

We work closely with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science to advise the Government on IP policy. The Government determines which issues will ultimately be the subject of proposed legislative amendments.

IP Australia's current legislative agenda

Our current legislative agenda consists of three main parts:

  1. Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission response Part 1 and other measures) Act 2018: This Act received Royal Assent on 24 August 2018. Further information on the Act and its commencement details are available.
  2. Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission response Part 2 and other measures) Bill: This Bill would implement the Government’s response to a number of recommendations from the 2016 Productivity Commission report into Australia’s intellectual property arrangements, where further consultation on the implementation approach is needed. These include inventive step reforms for patents, introducing an objects clause into the Patents Act 1990, and changes to Crown use and compulsory licensing of patents and designs. Consultation on the exposure draft of this legislation took place from 23 July to 31 August 2018. The Government did not introduce the Bill to Parliament in 2018 due to other priorities. The Government remains committed to the reforms and subject to priorities intends to introduce the Bill to Parliament in 2019.
  3. Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (A modern designs system) Bill: Subject to Government approval, this Bill will include accepted recommendations from the former Advisory Council on Intellectual Property's (ACIP) 2015 review of the designs system along with some other high-priority designs matters. Consultation on a number of policy proposals for inclusion in this Bill is proposed to commence in 2019.

IP Australia's forward legislative agenda

Caretaker Conventions

As the House of Representatives was dissolved on 11 April 2019 for an election, the Caretaker Conventions apply until the election result is clear or, if there is a change of government, until the new government is appointed. Stakeholders may make submissions on the policy register or forward legislative agenda during the caretaker period. However, please be aware that IP Australia must remain apolitical, and will not provide any policy advice to government (including on policy priorities) or comment on or publish any submissions relating to the policy register or forward legislative agenda until after the caretaker period ends (except rare urgent circumstances where immediate action is warranted, when action will only be taken in consultation with the Opposition).  

IP Australia’s Corporate Plan 2018/19 includes development of its policy and legislative agenda in consultation with stakeholders under Horizon 1 (2018-2022). We would welcome feedback from stakeholders to inform future priorities for changes to the IP rights system.

In addition to commenting on specific policy issues, we welcome comments on the broad direction that future policy work could take. For example, are there particular IP rights (i.e. patents, trade marks, designs, plant breeder’s rights, Olympic insignia), themes, or aspects of the IP system, that future reforms should address as a priority?

Submissions may be made using our general Policy Register feedback form.

Further queries regarding the forward legislative agenda may be directed to:

Feedback

Guide to providing feedback to IP Australia’s Policy Register

Send us your new policy issues

Send us general feedback about the policy register of the forward legislative agenda

More information

Check existing policy issues

For "Completed" and "Closed" issues, please view the archive page.

Search "Title, Policy ID, Issue Summary and Comments"
Hold "Ctrl" key to deselect or multi-select tags
  • Policy ID: 71
    Status: On hold
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    Currently the only courts able to hear Patent matters are the Federal Court and the State supreme courts.

    The Productivity Commission (PC) in its...

     
    History:
    On hold 04-Sept-2017
    Tag:
    Patents
  • Policy ID: 42
    Status: Identified for action
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    In its 2015 'Review of the Designs System' in Australia, the former Advisory Council on Intellectual Property recommended that IP Australia consider whether...

     
    History:
    Policy development 04-Sept-2017
    Tag:
    ACIP, Designs
  • Policy ID: 84
    Status: Legislative drafting
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    Patent applications and associated documents are published to ensure that the public is able to benefit from the knowledge of an invention. However, when...

     
    History:
    Legislative drafting 26-Mar-2018
    Consultation 23-Jul-2018 to 31-Aug-2018
    Legislative drafting 1-Sep-2018
    Tag:
    Patents
  • Policy ID: 59
    Status: Implementation
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    IP Australia publishes a range of personal information of applicants and owners in accordance with IP legislation and the Australian Privacy Principles....

     
    History:
    Implementation 23-Apr-2018
    Tag:
    Designs, Patents, Plant Breeder's Rights, Trade Marks
  • Policy ID: 13
    Status: Policy development
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    As a result of Australia's Free Trade Agreement commitments, extensions of patent term (EoTs) are offered for up to five years for original pharmaceutical...

     
    History:
    Policy Development 04-Sept-2017
    Tag:
    Productivity Commission, Patents
  • Policy ID: 43
    Status: Identified for action
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    In its 2015 'Review of the Designs System' in Australia, the former Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP) recommended that the treatment of...

     
    History:
    Policy development 04-Sept-2017
    Tag:
    ACIP, Designs
  • Policy ID: 1
    Status: Legislative drafting
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:
    The Productivity Commission (PC) in its 2013 report on compulsory licensing recommended that the Patents Act be amended to clarify the circumstances and...
     
    History:

    Consultation 30-Aug-2017 to 17-Nov-2017

    Policy development 20-Nov-2017

    Legislative drafting 26-Mar-2018

    Consultation 23-Jul-2018 to 31-Aug-2018

    Legislative drafting 1-Sep-2018

    Tag:
    Compulsory Licensing, Productivity Commission, Patents
  • Policy ID: 2
    Status: Legislative drafting
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:
    The Productivity Commission in its 2013 report on compulsory licensing recommended that a public interest test should replace existing criteria based on the '...
     
    History:

    Consultation 30-Aug-2017 to 17-Nov-2017

    Policy development 20-Nov-2017

    Legislative drafting 26-Mar-2018

    Consultation 23-Jul-2018 to 31-Aug-2018

    Legislative drafting 1-Sep-2018

    Tag:
    Compulsory Licensing, Productivity Commission, Patents
  • Policy ID: 35
    Status: Identified for action
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    Currently, section 19 of the Designs Act 2003 lists the factors to be considered in assessing whether a design is substantially similar in overall...

     
    History:
    Policy Development 04-Sept-2017
    Tag:
    Designs
  • Policy ID: 36
    Status: On hold
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    In its 2015 'Review of the Designs System' in Australia, the former Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP) recommended that Australia should...

     
    History:
    Policy development 04-Sept-2017
    Consultation 29-Mar-2018 to 31May-2018
    Policy development 1-Jun-2018 to 19-Dec-2018
    On hold 20-Dec-2018
    Tag:
    ACIP, Designs
  • Policy ID: 23
    Status: Legislative drafting
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    While the Designs Act allows for the Seal of the Designs Office to be kept electronically, which means that IP Australia can supply electronic certified...

     
    History:

    Policy development 04-Sept-2017

    Legislative drafting 26-Mar-2018

    Consultation 23-Jul-2018 to 31-Aug-2018

    Legislative drafting 1-Sep-2018

    Tag:
    Designs, Patents, Trade Marks
  • Policy ID: 37
    Status: Identified for action
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    Currently, registration of a design occurs following a formalities check and substantive examination occurs only on request. If the design is found to have...

     
    History:
    Policy development 04-Sept-2017
    Tag:
    ACIP, Designs

Legend

Priority
High Action will be taken by IP Australia at the next available opportunity
Medium Desirable for action by IP Australia in the medium term, but will not be addressed immediately
Low Limited evidence or justification for change at the present time. Unlikely to be progressed by IP Australia in the short or medium term.
No priority assigned IP Australia is yet to complete an assessment of priority of this issue.
Status
Identified for action IP Australia has received evidence to the extent that the issue warrants further policy development and consultation.
Policy development IP Australia is working on the policy options for addressing this issue.
Consultation Public consultation is ongoing on this issue.
Legislative drafting The Government has approved legislative action on this issue. Appropriate legislative amendments are being prepared.
In Parliament

A Bill is being considered by Parliament to address this issue.

Implementation An issue which does not require legislation, but which IP Australia is taking non-legislative action to address.
Completed An issue where a policy change has been implemented.
Closed

No action will be taken on this issue now or in the future.

On hold This issue is not being progressed by IP Australia at the present time, but is recorded on the register for potential work by IP Australia in future.