More plain packaging for tobacco products

Back in July, the Government introduced the Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill and related legislation.

As you will recall it generated quite some controversy as it effectively bans the use of some types of trade marks and severely restricts the way others can be used. It has passed the House and, now that the Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs committee has recommended the Trade Marks Amendment (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Bill be passed, is due to return to the Senate for passage, with the aim that all product on shelves on 1 July 2012 will comply with the new rules.

The Government has now released a second round of consultations on the form the packaging should take for cigars and other non-cigarette tobacco products.

Submissions should be received by 28 October 2011 with the resulting regulations expected to released in January 2012.

Consultation paper (pdf)

TRIPs protocol: Australian implementation consultation

IP Australia has issued a consultation paper on implementing the TRIPS protocol.

The TRIPS protocol is the modification (or is that clarification?) of TRIPS obligations to improve the availability of “crisis” pharmaceuticals in least developed and developing countries. From the discussion paper:

The TRIPS Protocol seeks to address this problem by amending the TRIPS Agreement to permit WTO members to issue compulsory licences to produce patented pharmaceutical products for export to least-developed and developing countries. The main features of the Protocol are:
• Licences may only be issued for products of the pharmaceutical sector needed to address public health concerns.
• Countries eligible to import pharmaceuticals under the system comprise any least-developed WTO country or any other WTO country that has notified the TRIPS Council.
• Importing countries are obliged to provide the TRIPS Council with details such as the names and quantities of the products needed and whether they need to issue a compulsory licence in their own country.
• Exporting countries are obliged to notify the TRIPS Council of a range of details and ensure that importing countries have done the same.
• Both importers and exporters must have in place anti-diversion measures to ensure the products produced under the system reach the intended market and are not re-exported.

Read the paper here (pdf).

Submissions due by 4 June 2010.

Patent and Trade Mark procedures in the Office

IP Australia has released 3 further consultation papers on “IP Rights Reforms”:

  • resolving divisional applications faster
  • resolving patent oppositions faster
  • resolving trade mark oppositions faster

Submissions are sought by 17 August 2009.

Download the papers (pdf or .doc) from here.

There are also links to the earlier papers on ‘Getting the Balance Right’ and ‘Exemptions to Patent Infringement’.