IP Australia fees for patents, trademarks and designs will change effective 1 July 2012

If you have IP1 rights in Australia, then you need to be aware of recent changes as this may affect your budgeting and timing of renewal fee payments.

Specifically, IP Australia has recently announced fee changes for patents, trademarks and designs. In particular, renewal fees will be changing with the cost increase coming into force on 1 July 2012.

Our Renewals team have put in some procedures to ensure that the changes cause as little disruption as possible.

First, renewal notices already issued will be resent with the revised costs shortly.

However, the biggest change is the introduction of a 4th year annuity2 for patent3 applications. As from 1 July 2012, an annuity will be payable for any patent application4 filed on or after 1 July 2008. This is a new fee as the first annuity was previously not paid until the 5th anniversary.

Some of you have been advised by us as towhen a first annuity date was required. Unfortunately for some, these changes have meant that date is now the date of the second annuity and unfortunately payment of an earlier first annuity will now be required. We are in the process of sending notices on those cases specifically impacted with this new fee.


1Refers to the ownership of an intangible thing - the innovative idea behind a new technology, product, process, design or plant variety, and other intangibles such as trade secrets, goodwill and reputation, and trade marks. Although intangible, the law recognises intellectual property as a form of property which can be sold, licensed, damaged or trespassed upon. Intellectual property encompasses patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
2See Renewal fees.
3A proprietary right in an invention which provides the owner with an exclusive right for up to 20 years to make, sell, use or import the invention. In exchange for this monopoly the patent is published so that others can see how the invention works and build on that knowledge. The patented invention may also be used by the public once the patent lapses.
4In most jurisdictions patent applications are subjected to an examination process to determine whether the subject matter is novel and inventive. The terms "application", "pending" or "patent application" are used to describe the status of the application up to grant.

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.

James and Wells is the 2010 New Zealand Law Awards winner of the Intellectual Property Law Award for excellence in client service.