Following a rush of requests for examination of
Australian Patent Applications in early 2013, IP Australia have
released a statement indicating that the customer service charter
will have to be reviewed in 2014.
As a result of the introduction of the "Raising the Bar Act
(2012)" which came into effect on 15 April 2013, IP Australia
has experienced a rush of Requests for Examination leading up to
the commencement date. This rush of Requests for Examination has
resulted in the number of cases for which Requests have been filed
in 2012-13 being more than double the number filed in the previous
Financial Year (i.e. July 2011 - June 2012).
IP Australia's Customer Service Charter states that
applicants will receive a first Office Action within 12 months of
requesting examination, but as a result of the number requests
filed in 2012-13 there will be an increase in pendency of first
reports in the coming years.
What is the effect for applicants?
It is expected that pendency is likely to increase, exceeding
the current 12 month customer service charter, to average at
approximately 19 months until IP Australia works through the
backlog of examinations.
In Australia an applicant must request examination within 5
years of the filing date. However the Commissioner may shorten this
deadline by issuing a Direction to Request Examination which
requires the applicant to request examination within 2 Months of
the date of the Direction. This mechanism is used to maintain a
steady flow of applications through the examination department.
To counter the recent increase in Requests for Examination, IP
Australia has now restricted directions to applications that are 57
months from filing date to keep new requests at a minimum.
As there has not been a significant change to the number of
patent applications being filed in Australia, we would expect the
situation to return to normal after a year or two.
Click here for the full IP Australia update on patent
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