On 30 May 2013, the Australian Parliament was presented with a Bill for an Act to amend legislation relating to intellectual property, called the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill 2013 (report here).  The 2013 bill focusses on 5 areas (which were not addressed in the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act 2012) and also seeks to clarify some of the Raising the Bar provisions on each of the Patents Act 1990, Trade Marks Act 1995, Designs Act 2003 and the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act 1994. In this post, we focus on the fourth Schedule of the bill.

Schedule 4 includes important changes to provide the owners of plant breeder‘s rights (PBR) in a plant variety with the option of taking action in the Federal Circuit Court (previously known as the Federal Magistrates Court) against alleged infringers.

The amendments address the need for a way to resolve disputes about the infringement of PBR in a plant variety that is quicker and less formal than taking action in the Federal Court. As most disputes over plant breeder‘s rights are less complex matters, and many of the parties involved are small businesses with limited resources, the Federal Circuit Court is well placed to hear such cases.