Changes to Australian intellectual property law in the form of The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act (Raising the Bar) came into force on 15 April 2013.

The changes include:

  • raising the quality of granted patents by altering the tests for patentability to increase their alignment with equivalent tests in other jurisdictions;
  • reducing delays in the resolution of patent and trade mark applications by altering procedures for opposition and patent divisional applications;
  • changing the operational provisions for Australian patent and trade marks attorneys;
  • improving the mechanisms for trade mark and copyright enforcement; and
  • simplifying the IP system to ensure it is easier to use.

In patents, the changes raise the standards for patentability, such that it may be more difficult in some cases to obtain a granted patent, while any accepted or granted claims may be more vulnerable to attack by a third party, including via pre-grant opposition proceedings. The raised standards affect all Australian standard patent applications for which examination was not requested before 15 April 2013.

However, several procedural changes apply from 15 April 2013 irrespective of the status of an application.