The Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) has released version 1 of the Intellectual Property Guidelines for the Victorian Public Sector (guidelines). The release follows the working draft of the guidelines that we reported on in November 2013.

The guidelines support the Whole of Victorian Government Intellectual Property Policy Intent and Principles (IP Policy) which was released in August 2012 and outlines the key principles governing the State of Victoria's ownership and management of its IP, and its use of third party IP. The guidelines apply to government departments and public bodies (as defined in the Financial Management Act 1994 (Vic)) (agencies).

There have been a number of amendments made to the guidelines since the working draft was released. A key change is the introduction of a recommendation that agencies introduce an IP Coordinator to be responsible for the administration of the IP Policy.

Further, some aspects of the guidelines have been expanded in order to provide more detailed advice to agencies about how to deal with their IP, particularly about when and if certain material should be made available to third parties and, if so, what method will lead to an outcome that maximises its accessibility and benefit consistent with the public interest.

The following table summarises some of the key aspects of the guidelines and highlights some of the substantive amendments that have been made since the working draft:

Click here to view table.

The guidelines require agencies to use them to review and develop their IP arrangements to meet their specific requirements, while maintaining consistency with the IP Policy. The guidelines recognise that there is no 'one size fits all' approach to IP, and that each agency will need to consider other factors impacting its IP arrangements (such as any specific IP provisions and objectives in its establishing legislation), its size and sophistication, the intellectual property it develops and owns and its needs, in developing its own IP arrangements.

Where agencies have already commenced or completed the development of their own IP policies and processes in light of the working draft of the guidelines, it would be prudent for them to take into account the additional guidance provided in the updated version in order to ensure that their arrangements are appropriate to meet their needs.