Australia has one of the longest acceptance times in the world. The 15 month period was originally intended to account for delays in postal communication with overseas contacts. However, this is no longer necessary as communication can be conducted electronically. The great majority of issues are resolved within six months. The 15 month time frame is also longer than that allowed for patents and designs, which are 12 months and six months respectively.
The availability of easy extensions unnecessarily prolongs the prosecution of trade mark applications. The current extended period for acceptance, which includes the standard 15 months plus up to an additional six months of 'easy' extensions, is no longer necessary. The long acceptance period creates marketplace uncertainty. The different time periods and opportunities to extend the acceptance period also complicate the trade marks system. Furthermore, a trade mark is the only IP right where an 'easy' extension is available for the acceptance period.
Public consultation on this issue took place from November 2016 - February 2017.
In light of stakeholder feedback, and high priority proposals resulting from the Government's response to the PC inquiry this proposal has been downgraded to Medium priority. This issue has been placed on hold and will be considered for inclusion in a later Bill.