At the behest of the Federal Government, IP Australia is looking for ways to reduce regulatory burden within the intellectual property (IP) system. Philosophically the Government has the view that Australian business is overburdened with compliance activities associated with regulatory burden. The Government has therefore announced that it is committed to cutting $1 billion in red and green tape each year, and no area of the bureaucracy is to be immune.

The government's regulation reform agenda involves:

  • a more rigorous approach to policy making, where the default position is no new regulation 
  • an audit of existing regulations 
  • two Parliamentary repeal days every year to cut unnecessary regulation 
  • a requirement to offset any increased regulation with a reduction of existing regulation

 The Government is most concerned with regulation which imposes costs on business, community organisations or the public. This includes formal rules like the Patents Act 1990 or the Trade Marks Regulations 1995. It also includes informal rules, like application forms.

Although IP Australia is necessarily involved in the Government's push, it has made it clear that any reform it undertakes cannot compromise the integrity of the IP system. Given that there has been substantial statutory and regulatory reform of IP law in Australia over the last few years, ostensibly with the aim of 'raising the bar' on IP standards in Australia to meet those of our major IP trading partners, and that there presently are a large suite of recommended changes to the Copyright Act unaddressed, it is hard to see how anyone involved in the IP industry will have much appetite for more change!

Soldiering on though, IP Australia seeks feedback from businesses and individuals as to how the red tape costs of the IP system could be reduced. Readers are invited to send a short email to dereg@ipaustralia.gov.au. There is no requirement that suggestions for cutting IP red tape be substantially justified. Readers are invited to 'just identify the regulation or rule, tell us what it costs you (Time? Money?), and why you think we don't need it.' Maybe it should be proposed that IP Australia rethink it's draconian regulations around extensions of time in patent and trade mark opposition proceedings in view of the dramatically increased time and financial imposition these are placing on stakeholders in the system?

More information about the regulation reform agenda can be found on the Government's Cutting Red Tape website. To find out more about IP Australia's role an email can be sent to dereg@ipaustralia.gov.au. Alternatively, you can call Ms Terry Moore, Director, Domestic Policy at IP Australia on +61 2 6283 2632.