On 23 November 2016 IP Australia published the final exposure drafts of the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill 2017, and the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Regulation 2017 for public consultation (see my previous article).

Currently, the processes and timing are different for obtaining, maintaining and challenging the various forms of intellectual property (IP) rights—copyright, patents, trade marks, designs, plant breeder's rights and Olympic insignia.

The draft legislation would align and streamline these processes, including the terminology, procedures used and the timing. By adopting more similar processes among the different forms of IP rights, the IP system should be simpler, help businesses to more effectively deal in more than one IP right, and make the processes cheaper for IP Australia to administer.

A notable absence in the exposure drafts is IP Australia's previous proposal that applications for extensions of time longer than one year, arising from an error or omission or circumstances beyond the control of the person concerned, would only be granted if the applicant could satisfy the more onerous standard of "despite due care". Amendments to implement this proposal do not appear in the final exposure drafts.

The proposed changes would amend the Patents Act 1990, Trade Marks Act 1995, Designs Act 2003, Plant Breeder’s Rights Act 1994, Olympic Insignia Protection Act 1987 and the Copyright Act 1968, and their corresponding regulations.

You can review copies of the exposure drafts and explanatory memoranda on IP Australia’s website.

Written submissions on the Exposure Drafts are due by 6 February 2017.