Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Bill 2011 passed by Parliament
A bill which substantially reforms Australia’s intellectual property laws was passed unamended by the House of Representatives on 20 March 2012. The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Bill 2011 has now passed through both Houses of Parliament and is expected to receive Royal Assent within the next two weeks, after which it will become law.
Most provisions to take effect in 12 months
While the new experimental use exemption to patent infringement will commence the day after Royal Assent, the substantive provisions of the Bill will commence 12 months after that date. This 12 month lead time will provide the time necessary for the accompanying Regulations to be drafted and finalised, and for IP Australia to change its systems and train its personnel to process and examine applications according to the new provisions. It will also allow users of Australia’s IP system time to prepare for the new regime.
New requirements for patentability
Of particular note are the “raised” requirements for patentability and for patent specifications, as these have the potential to apply to applications filed before the 12 month commencement date if an examination request is not filed prior to this date. It is likely that many applicants will take steps to request early examination to rely on the current, more lenient patentability and specification requirements, and this might also involve early national phase entry of international applications into Australia, and the early filing of divisional applications.
For more information about the impending changes to Australia’s IP landscape, please see our comprehensive review of the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Bill 2011.