Fundamental Changes to Intellectual Property Law on the Way

By 1 July, 2016 January 21st, 2019 No Comments

In April 2016, the Commission released its Draft Report on the Intellectual Property Arrangements in Australia and has called for a fundamental change to current laws. The Commission has been asked to consider whether Australia’s current IP laws provide an appropriate balance between access to ideas and ownership whilst also encouraging innovation, investment and the production of creative works.

The Key Findings of the Draft Report

The Commission’s Draft Report has indicated a big shake up of Australia IP law is coming soon. Some of the key findings of the Draft Report include:

  • current Australian copyright law has expanded too far and protects work for too long. A new system is needed whereby a broad, principles- based fair use exception expands user rights;
  • current Australian patent law protects patent holders too easily. This has meant there has been a “proliferation of low-quality patents”, frustrating the efforts of follow-on innovators”. It has been suggested this could in part, be overcome by increasing the degree of invention required to receive a patent;
  • the enforcement of IP law in Australia currently is effective for large rights holders but reforms are needed to improve to protect small and medium sized enterprises. This includes lowering Federal Court costs and it has been suggested a dedicated IP court or better utilization of the Federal Circuit Court would also be of assistance;
  • commercial IP rights transactions should be subject to competition law. This is premised on the finding that the current Competition and Consumer act is based on “outdated views and should be repealed”; and
  • as multilateral and bilateral trade agreements are the primary determinant of Australia’s IP law, the Australian Government should focus on “encouraging more balanced policy arrangements for patents and copyright…and reducing costs”.

What to Expect Next

The Commissions’ Report is expected to be given to the Australian Government in August 2016 and published by the Commission shortly thereafter. It is expected that the recommendations of the report will target lowering the time of protection of copyrighted material, increasing the threshold in respect of a successful patent application and greater use of the Federal Circuit Court.

If you wish to discuss your intellectual property needs, feel free to contact Sophia Kailis by phone on 6188 3342 or email