Last updated: 
2 December 2020

IP Australia's policy register is a list of issues that we are considering or working on for policy action or legislative amendment. The register aims to enhance public participation in government decision making, in line with the government's Open Government National Action Plan.

Policy issues come to our attention as a result of:

  • government priorities
  • recommendations from IP related reviews
  • stakeholder suggestions
  • international developments
  • submissions made to the policy register
  • internal proposals.

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

IP Australia works closely with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources to provide advice to government on IP policy. The government determines which issues will ultimately be the subject of proposed legislative amendments. While all the issues on the register are considered, that does not mean that any legislative or policy changes will necessarily take effect.

IP Australia's current legislative agenda

Our current legislative agenda includes:

Designs Amendment (Advisory Council on Intellectual Property Response) Bill 2020 (Designs Bill):

This Bill includes 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. Measures include the introduction of a grace period for filing design applications, and other improvements to clarify and simplify the designs system and provide more flexibility for designers. 

From 23 July to 28 August 2020 IP Australia consulted on an exposure draft of the Designs Bill, accompanying regulations and draft explanatory material. The submitted responses and our response are published on our Consultation Hub

On 2 December 2020 the Designs Bill was introduced into the Senate and is currently before Parliament for consideration. 

IP Australia's forward legislative agenda

IP Australia’s Corporate Plan 2019/20 includes the 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 sent to Policy-Register@ipaustralia.gov.au.

How to have your say

We invite you to provide feedback on the issues on the register you are interested in. You can do so by using the policy feedback form which is available on each policy issue page.

You can submit new policy issues for our consideration. If you are considering submitting an issue we would encourage you read our Guide to providing feedback to IP Australia’s Policy Register to gain an understanding of what information is helpful to provide.

We also welcome general feedback on the policy register or our legislative agenda.

More information

Check existing policy issues

For "Completed" and "Closed" issues, please view the archive page. We have also developed a Guide to viewing updates to the Policy Register.

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  • Policy ID: 35
    Status: In Parliament
    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

    Consultation 31-Oct-2019 to 20-Dec-2019

    Policy Development 20-Dec-2019 to 12-May-2020

    Legislative drafting 12-May-2020 to 23-Jul-2020

    Consultation 23-Jul-2020 to 28-Aug-2020

    Legislative drafting 28-Aug-2020 to 02-Dec-2020

    In Parliament 02-Dec-2020

    Tag:
    ACIP, Designs
  • Policy ID: 46
    Status: In Parliament
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    In its 2015 'Review of the Designs System' in Australia, the former Advisory Council on...

     
    History:

    On hold 04-Sept-2017

    Consultation 31-Oct-2019 to 20-Dec-2019

    Policy development 20-Dec-2019 to 12-May-2020

    Legislative drafting 12-May-2020 to 23-Jul-2020

    Consultation 23-Jul-2020 to 28-Aug-2020

    Legislative drafting 28-Aug-2020 to 02-Dec-2020

    In Parliament 02-Dec-2020

    Tag:
    ACIP, Designs
  • Policy ID: 98
    Status: Identified for action
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    Currently, under section 19 of the Olympic Insignia Protection Act 1987 (OIP Act) trade marks containing marks that are or resemble the Olympic motto,...

     
    History:

    Identified for action 08-Aug-2019

    Tag:
    Olympic Insignia Protection
  • Policy ID: 67
    Status: In Parliament
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    Upon or after filing a design application, an applicant may currently request either publication or registration of the design. A design application lapses...

     
    History:

    On hold 04-Sept-2017

    Policy Development 01-Jul-2019

    Consultation 31-Oct-2019 to 20-Dec-2019

    Policy development 20-Dec-2019 to 12-May-2020

    Legislative drafting 12-May-2020 to 02-Dec-2020

    In Parliament 02-Dec-2020

    Tag:
    ACIP, Designs
  • Policy ID: 38
    Status: Legislative drafting
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

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

     
    History:

    On hold 04-Sept-2017

    Consultation 17-Dec-2019 to 16-Feb-2020

    Legislative drafting 17 Feb 2020

    Tag:
    ACIP, Fees, Designs
  • Policy ID: 39
    Status: In Parliament
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    In its 2015 'Review of the Designs System' in Australia, the former Advisory Council on...

     
    History:

    Policy development 04-Sept-2017

    Consultation 31-Oct-2019 to 20-Dec-2019

    Policy Development 20-Dec-2019 to 12-May-2020

    Legislative drafting 12-May-2020 to 23-Jul-2020

    Consultation 23-Jul-2020 to 28-Aug-2020

    Legislative drafting 28-Aug-2020 to 02-Dec-2020

    In Parliament 02-Dec-2020

    Tag:
    ACIP, Designs
  • Policy ID: 103
    Status: Policy development
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    Innovations that are based on Traditional Knowledge, but which are subject to further research and development may benefit from patent or PBR protection as...

     
    History:
    Policy development 08-Aug-2019
    Tag:
    Indigenous Knowledge, Patents, Plant Breeder's Rights
  • 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: 91
    Status: In Parliament
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    Schedule 2 of the Designs Regulations contains a number of requirements based on IP Australia’s previous system of paper filing, for example,...

     
    History:

    Identified for action 08-Aug-2019

    Consultation 31-Oct-2019 to 20-Dec-2019

    Policy development 20-Dec-2019 to 12-May-2020

    Legislative drafting 12-May-2020 to 23-Jul-2020

    Consultation 23-Jul-2020 to 28-Aug-2020

    Legislative drafting 28-Aug-2020 to 02-Dec-2020

    In Parliament 02-Dec-2020

    Tag:
    Designs
  • Policy ID: 104
    Status: Policy development
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    Trade marks applications can be rejected if they are ‘scandalous or contrary to law’ and designs applications are also checked for ‘scandalous’ content. ...

     
    History:

    Policy development 08-Aug-2019

    Tag:
    Indigenous Knowledge, Designs, Trade Marks
  • Policy ID: 41
    Status: In Parliament
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    In its 2015 'Review of the Designs System' in Australia, the former Advisory Council on...

     
    History:

    Policy development 04-Sept-2017

    Consultation 31-Oct-2019 to 20-Dec-2019

    Policy development 20-Dec-2019 to 12-May-2020

    Legislative drafting 12-May-2020 to 23-Jul-2020

    Consultation 23-Jul-2020 to 28-Aug-2020

    Legislative drafting 28-Aug-2020 to 02-Dec-2020

    In Parliament 02-Dec-2020

    Tag:
    ACIP, Designs
  • Policy ID: 105
    Status: Policy development
    Priority: High
    Issue summary:

    The New Zealand Intellectual Property Office has two Māori Advisory Committees that can provide advice on whether features in a trade mark or design would...

     
    History:

    Policy development 08-Aug-2019

    Tag:
    Indigenous Knowledge, Designs, Patents, Plant Breeder's Rights, Trade Marks

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.
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.