The Productivity Commission (PC) review of Australia's IP arrangements in 2016 found that the trade marks register is 'cluttered' with trade marks that are not being used; thus, potentially reducing the scope for legitimate users who want to use similar marks.
To overcome cluttering of the trade marks register, the PC recommend (Rec 12.1) reducing the 'grace period' for which trade marks cannot be challenged on the basis for non-use. Removal of a trade mark for non-use is not automatic; it requires a party to seek removal of a mark from the register through IP Australia, with a hearing if the non-use action is contested. The government accepted the recommendation.
The proposed amendment will reduce the minimum period for allowing a non-use action from 5 years to 3 years beginning from the date the particulars of the trade mark were entered into the Register.