IP Australia has issued to discussion papers:
- Proposals to streamline IP processes and support small business; and
- Proposals to streamline IP processes and support small business – Regulatory costs,
apparently following Parliamentary Secretary Karen Andrews’ announcement.
According to IP Australia’s website, the “streamlining” paper:
The … Consultation Paper outlines 22 proposals to align and simplify our IP processes, support small business and make some technical fixes relating to the regulation of IP attorneys.
The first 10 proposals apply across the board (as it were) to patents, trade marks, designs and PBR and relate to matters such as aligning renewals re-examination/revocation, extensions of time, writing and filing requirements.
There are 3 further proposals affecting patents: third party requests for examination, colour drawings and extensions of term – notices to the department of health.
The 14th proposal relates to the acceptance timeframe for trade mark applications.
15 and 16 affect the registration of designs and multiple copies of representations.
There are 6 proposals “supporting small business” including unjustified threats of infringement and trade marks and shelf companies.
And 2 “technical fixes” relating to publishing the personal information of “IP attorneys” and prosecuting “IP attorney” offences.
There are some 84 pages in the paper. So this post is not going to do the paper anything approximating “justice”.
One proposal is to reduce the acceptance period for trade marks from 15 months to 6 months. There are also substantial changes proposed for the regimes relating to extensions of time:
– Align PBR extensions with those for patents and for a wider range of actions
– Specify the grounds for the ‘special circumstances’ extension in the trade marks legislation and align circumstances beyond control across the rights
– Allow extensions of time for renewal grace periods but not renewal dates, for all IP rights
– Make the ‘despite due care’ extension available for all IP rights and have no limit on the period of the extension
– For all rights, limit the ‘error or omission by applicant/owner’ extension to 12 months
– Streamlined process for short extensions of time
– Simplify and align fees
– Make all extensions of time non-discretionary.
Certificates: you know, things like Certificates of Registration:
The IP legislation would be amended so that certificates would not be required to be issued for examination, registration and grant. Also, the patents and trade marks Acts would be amended to no longer provide that a certificate signed by the Commissioner or Registrar is prima facie evidence of a matter. Instead, the Acts would provide that any document approved by the Commissioner or Registrar (or similar wording) would constitute prima facie evidence of a matter. This would enable IP Australia to continue to provide documents for such purposes, without requiring them to be signed certificates. Signed copies or extracts of the Registers would continue to be admissible in proceedings as if they were the original Register, and therefore prima facie evidence of the particulars on them.
Unjustified threats: this would see removal of the defence under s 129(5) of the Trade Marks Act of bringing infringement proceedings reasonably timely (which is not currently a defence for patent or designs threats), providing the remedy for PBR and introducing a power to award additional damages in respect of blatant and unjustified threats against another party.
Trade marks and shelf companies: this proposal would see amendment of s 27 so that it would not be necessary to incorporate the company that is intended to use the trade mark, but purchase of a shelf company would suffice.
The renewals proposal would see a grace period of 6 months introduced for renewing PBR and provision that all IPR could be infringed during the grace period if subsequently renewed.
In coming up with those proposals, IP Australia has used a costing framework and developed detailed costings which are set out in the “costings” paper. We are being invited to comment on those too.
If you are feeling excited, you should get your submissions in to IP Australia by 7 April 2015.
Proposals to streamline IP processes and support small business – Regulatory costs (pdf)