The Act is intended to provide a more simplified and streamlined IP system in Australasia.

One of the touted outcomes of this new legislation is that it will be easier for inventors and innovators to patent the same invention in Australia and New Zealand, through a 'single application' and 'single examination process'. This initiative is part of a broader single economic market agenda between the two countries that seeks to build a single trans-Tasman business environment.

While it is yet to come into full effect, applicants opting for the 'single application' process will be able to file co-pending applications with IP Australia and the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) via a portal available at either office, effecting simultaneous filing in both countries.

If the single examination process is opted for, applications filed in both countries (via either the 'single application' process, or separately), will be examined by either IP Australia or IPONZ. We explain this in more detail in an earlier article which can be read here.

Other changes that will come into effect with the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 2015, include the ability of generic drug manufacturers to apply to the Australian Federal Court for authorisation to manufacture patented drugs - such as those developed to treat life-threatening illnesses such as tuberculosis and malaria - and export them to developing countries facing health crises.

In a statement released by the Hon. Karen Andrews MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Science, Mrs Andrews said 'This reflects Australia's role as a good international citizen, and meets our commitment to implement the Protocol amending the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property.'

More information about the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 2015 can be found on IP Australia's website.