On 9 February 2015 the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill 2014 was passed through the Senate.
The two key amendments are:
- Amendments to the Patents Act 1990 to allow Australian pharmaceutical manufacturers to apply to the Federal Court of Australia for a compulsory licence to manufacture generic medicines and export them to developing countries.
- A single trans-Tasman patent examination model for patent applications filed in both Australian and New Zealand for the same invention. These applications will be examined in one jurisdiction only, and granted in both. The examination will take into account the separate national laws. Further, the Bill proposes a unified trans-Tasman patent attorney scheme, which will result in a single register, a single set of qualifications for registration and a single governing Board of patent attorneys