IP Australia have released a statement indicating that the customer service charter will have to be reviewed in 2014 due to the increase in pendency of first reports in the coming years.

IP1 Australia indicated that a surge in voluntary patent2 examination3 requests for the 2012/2013 financial year was a result of the introduction of the IP Laws Amendment Act 2012.

What this means for clients

It is expected that pendency is likely to increase, exceeding the 12 month customer service charter, to average at approximately 19 months. To counter the increase, IP Australia has restricted directions to applications that are 57 months from filing date to keep new requests at a minimum.

Click here for the full IP Australia update on patent examination timeframes


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.

2A 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.

3The process by which the receiving office (in New Zealand this is the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand or IPONZ) determines whether the subject matter of a patent application discloses a valid invention and is patentable. Under current New Zealand law the examiner will ensure that the subject matter meets the definition of "invention" and is novel. Under legislation proposed to be introduced in late 2010, examination will determine whether the subject matter is novel, involves an inventive step, is useful and is not excluded subject matter.

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 & Wells Intellectual Property, three time winner of the New Zealand Intellectual Property Laws Award and first IP firm in the world to achieve CEMARS® certification.