From 1 July 2018 the Melbourne IP Pilot in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia is being extended to Sydney and the other capital city localities to better promote the Court as a forum for IP litigation.
It is anticipated that proceedings issued in this list shall be heard within eight months of filing of the initiating application.
The Federal Circuit Court can hear IP matters relating to trade marks, registered designs, copyright, plant breeder’s rights and claims under the Australian Consumer Law, but not patent matters.
As part of the changes, all IP matters filed in the Federal Circuit Court will now be docketed to Her Honour Judge Baird.
Judge Baird is a recent appointment to the Court and was previously Senior Counsel at the Sydney bar specialising in IP.
Her Honour will “triage” all IP matters by giving a first return date within three weeks and then case manage the matter through the interlocutory steps and to hearing.
During the course of the progress of the matter, Judge Baird may transfer the file to another Judge as directed for ultimate hearing/determination.
After the hearing, a decision will be given, hopefully within a week but generally within a month.
The changes are intended to give certainty to litigants, consistency of approach and speedy resolution.
In addition, many of the filing fees in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia are considerably lower than comparable fees in the Federal Court of Australia, the ‘default’ venue for IP litigation in Australia.