Our News Alert of 29 February 2012 noted that the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Bill 2011  had been passed unamended by the Senate and introduced to the House of Representatives.
The Raising the Bar Bill was passed unamended by the House of Representatives on 20 March 2012, and received Royal Assent from the Governor General on 15 April 2012, resulting in substantial amendments to the Patents Act 1990. The commencement date of the most significant amendments, raising the standards of patentability for new applications, will therefore be 15 April 2013. Before that date, the Regulations to support the amended Patents Act will be drafted, opened to public consultation, finalised and promulgated. However, the research exemption provisions are now in force, having commenced on the date of Assent.
For applicants with pending, unexamined applications, we continue to recommend a request for examination be filed before the commencement date to gain the benefit of the current standards.
The parliamentary homepage of the Bill, including its text and explanatory memorandum, can be found here.