Streamlining patent applications

Back in February, the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand issued a statement about harmonising IP laws (and procedures) between their countries.

Today, the Minister for Innovation, Industry and Science and the New Zealand Commerce Minister issued a further statement “revealing” that:

  1. there will be a single application process for seeking patents in both countries from 2013; and
  2. a single examination of the application for both countries will be introduced from 2014.
The two countries’ patent laws will continue to be different but, when these steps are introduced, there will be an integrated application and examination process to get a patent in both countries.
According to the Australian Minister:
The savings in professional costs alone could be as high as $2,000 to $5,000 per invention — money that should and will stay in the pocket of the innovator.
Not entirely clear from the information released officially how things have progressed since February. Press Release here; Fact Sheet there (pdf).