Cutting IP red tape and assisting countries in need


Bob Baldwin, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, yesterday tabled the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill, designed to protect the interests of Australian businesses that want to protect their product and technologies.

Image credit: Flickr User:  ciokiewiczdadvca
Image credit: Flickr User: ciokiewiczdadvca

According to the media release issued by Mr Baldwin, the Amendment Bill proposed number of changes to build on and improve Australia’s world-class IP system, which in 2013 was ranked fifth in the world. The improvements are aimed at making the Australian IP system more business friendly, more responsive to the needs of IP right holders and more supportive of developing countries that are having health emergencies.

“Today we have improved our IP laws to help innovative Australian businesses get on and grow. These amendments also further recognise the value of intellectual property to the economy of Australia,” Mr Baldwin said.

“Cutting red tape, making laws easier to understand, and helping to streamline the process for applying for patents across the Tasman will all help business in Australia.”

The amendment to the legislation will simplify the process of innovators applying for the same patent in Australia and New Zealand, reducing costs in money and time for businesses operating in both countries.

Changes will also have a positive impact on farmers, growers and others involved in the breeding of new plant varieties.

The Bill amends the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act to extend the jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit Court, and allows assistance to developing countries facing life-threatening medical problems such as malaria, HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis, thus fulfilling Australia’s commitment to implement the protocol amending the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS Protocol).

“It allows generic manufacturers to apply to the Federal Court for the ability to manufacture and export patented drugs to developing countries facing a health crisis,” Mr Baldwin said.

“This change will provide developing countries with more affordable access to much needed medications, while continuing to balance the interests of patent owners.”

More information about the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill 2014 can be found on IP Australia’s website.