New IP reforms raise the bar

CHANGES to Australia's intellectual property laws introduced last year come into full effect this month.

The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act 2012 is the most comprehensive reform of Australia's IP system in more than 20 years.

Director general of IP Australia Philip Noonan said IP rights are the currency of our knowledge economy.

"Australia's IP system is essential for improving productivity and is a cornerstone for a strong and sustainable economy."

"These reforms strengthen our IP system and promote innovation and productivity growth" Mr Noonan said.

A higher patent standard is fundamental to the reforms and encourages genuine innovation. Exporters stand to benefit as this higher standard is in line with our major trading partners, therefore they will have greater confidence that their invention could be protected in overseas markets.

Increased penalties for trade mark infringements is another element of the reforms. Brand owners will benefit with increased penalties for counterfeiting and stronger powers for customs to seize fake goods.

The Raising the Bar Act brings less complexity and a more streamlined administration, with new rules introduced to reduce delays in disputes over the granting of patents and trade marks.

Exemptions for research activities came into force immediately when the Act was passed last year, allowing researchers to experiment and improve existing inventions without having to worry about infringing an existing patent, said Mr Noonan.

For more information about the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act visit