Australia: A week is a long time in patent law – Australia and New Zealand both move on second-tier patent systems

As reverse manifestations go, this one was pretty good. Within a week of our previous article, which effectively said progress toward New Zealand's proposed second-tier Advancement patent had stalled, it then resumes in the very next Parliamentary session!

Meanwhile, across the Tasman, draft legislation that purports to cull the Innovation patent system has re-emerged.

This article will be necessarily short – all we really need to cover is what's happened over the past week – but what a week it's been...

New Zealand: first reading resumes – but is again "interrupted"

As readers may recall, a Private Member's Bill ( Patents (Advancement Patents) Amendment Bill 2018) was tabled in New Zealand's Parliament on 5 April 2018. A stroke of good fortune saw it drawn from a ballot system and its first reading commenced on 16 May 2018. However, in the time available, only two of the eleven scheduled speeches were completed – and the first reading was "interrupted".

On 25 July 2018, the first reading resumed. However, it was again interrupted with the final two speeches still to come. Slow progress, but progress nonetheless.

When will the first reading continue/conclude?

Given the nature of Private Members' Bills, there remains scope for it to "yo-yo" up and down the agenda for quite some time. However, the fact that the first reading resumed after a relatively brief interruption suggests a strong resolve on the part of Parliament to move this Bill on to the next stage – whatever that may be.

What is the next stage?

The next stage is binary – sink or swim, depending upon how the Bill is received in Parliament. As we'd suggested previously, there was a strong indication that the (governing coalition majority) Labour party would not support the Bill, which on a purely numerical basis, means that the legislation's only chance of survival is for the (governing coalition minority) New Zealand First party to cross the floor. Based on its Deputy Leader's speech during the resumed first reading, it's safe to infer that the coalition will not be breaking ranks. The Greens (confidence and supply agreement with coalition) also appeared to keep their end of the bargain.

On this basis, and at the risk of stating the obvious, the odds of the Bill passing muster don't look great. If Members vote as foreshadowed, the result will be 63-55, against. And that's just to ensure passage to the next stage of the legislative process – the Select Committee phase.

Meanwhile, across the ditch in Australia...

Probably more by coincidence than design, Australia's death-row Innovation patent has been in the news again. We've been following New Zealand's Advancement patent and Australia's Innovation patent in tandem due to an enduring interest in the Trans-Tasman "Single Economic Market" harmonisation initiatives, which date back to 2009. The end goal of the SEM reforms, as the name would suggest, is to create unitary market conditions on both sides of the Tasman. Save for the common currency and the obvious differences in respect of scale, the SEM reforms seek to develop the Australia-New Zealand common market along European lines. Under SEM conditions, it would be somewhat incongruous to encourage innovation in Australia by way of the Innovation patent, but not to have a New Zealand equivalent (and vice versa).

So, what's happened in Australia over the past week?

Readers may recall that Australia's Innovation patent had been on death row, but then received something of an Easter resurrection, when clauses providing for its abolition were mysteriously removed from legislation tabled in Australia's Federal Parliament on 28 March 2018. As proponents of the Innovation patent system, and active lobbyists for its retention, we were hopeful that this signalled a change of heart on the part of the Australian Government.

Unfortunately, however, another reverse manifestation appears in progress and Patentology reported earlier this week that the Innovation patent is once again on the chopping block under a recently-published exposure draft, the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill (Productivity Commission Response Part 2 and Other Measures) Bill 2018. The proposed measures are the same as they were previously – in other words:

  1. The legislation is passed into law on "date-X"; it takes effect from "date-Y", which is 12 months from date-X.
  2. At any time prior to date-Y (e., between now and date-X, and then between dates X and Y), new Innovation patent applications can be filed. In other words, nothing changes until the legislation takes effect on date-Y.
  3. As of date-Y, no new Innovation patent applications can be validly granted. However, an existing standard patent application (having a filing date prior to date-Y) can still be converted into an Innovation patent, or can have a divisional Innovation patent filed from it. With Innovation patents having an 8-year term, it will be appreciated that under the proposed system, all Innovation patents will have expired by "date-Z" (effectively, date-Y+8).

The proposed transitional arrangements also give rise to another interesting consequence: added matter restrictions. An Innovation patent claim having a priority date on or after date-Y cannot be validly certified. This guards against effective US C-I-P practice such that a claim reliant on added subject matter may not be entitled to its original priority date; if its revised priority date falls after date-Y, the claim cannot be certified following examination and is thereby not enforceable at law.

A coordinated approach across AU/NZ Governments, or mere coincidence?

Inevitably, the latter. Conspiracy theories outlining coordinated parliamentary schedules tend not to hold much water. However, if it's mere coincidence that sees second-tier patents regimes being considered simultaneously across Australia and New Zealand, then, as proponents of such regimes, we'll take it.

Next steps

In New Zealand: the first reading of the Advancement Patents Bill needs to be completed and voted on. As noted above, the end may come swiftly and relatively painlessly.

In Australia: the exposure draft is open for public submission until 31 August 2018. One would anticipate a spirited debate. The worst-case scenario is a slow, painful death as outlined above.

As always, we'll keep readers duly informed of developments.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Shelston IP ranked one of Australia's leading Intellectual Property firms in 2015.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions