Ministers for the Department of Industry and Science
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Less IP red tape for Australian business – more help for countries in need

10 February 2015

Australian businesses will have less red tape to deal with when protecting their hard‑won intellectual property, thanks to the Government’s Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 2015 which passed the Senate last night.

The Act introduces changes that will simplify aspects of Australia’s IP system, make it cheaper and easier to protect and enforce certain IP rights, and make it simpler for developing countries to get help in dealing with major public health crises.

“This new legislation will streamline business between Australia and New Zealand by simplifying the process for innovators seeking to patent the same invention in both countries,” Mrs Andrews said.

“It allows for a single patent attorney regime and a single patent application and examination process, making it easier for businesses to protect their IP in both countries.”

Farmers, nursery owners and others who work with new plant varieties will benefit, as the plant breeders who supply these industries will now have simpler and more cost-effective means of enforcing their rights in the Federal Circuit Court.

The Act can also help people in developing countries who face life-threatening illnesses such as malaria, HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis.

“Generic drug manufacturers will now be able to apply to Australia’s Federal Court for permission to manufacture patented drugs – drugs that would otherwise be too costly -- and then export the medicine to a developing country facing a health crisis,” Mrs Andrews said.

“This reflects Australia’s role as a good international citizen, and meets our commitment to implement the Protocol amending the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property.”

These changes will help ensure that we have an efficient and streamlined intellectual property system. It reduces red tape and regulatory costs for Australian business, and gives Australia the ability to help those in need.

More information about the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 2015 can be found on IP Australia’s website at www.ipaustralia.gov.au.

Media contacts: Parliamentary Secretary's office 02 6277 4360