The countdown begins to “Raising the Bar” changes in Australia

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On the 15 April, 2012 amendments to the Australian Patents Act known as “Raising the Bar” received Royal Assent. With less than 12 months until the amendments become effective (15 April 2013), the race is on.

The countdown has now begun to ready ourselves for the forthcoming changes that will impact pending patent applications where a request for examination has not been lodged, and new applications, including divisional applications.

The new provisions raise the existing bar to patent grant by introducing a European-style sufficiency standard and a US style utility standard. In addition, the scope of some key existing provisions has been changed, including removal of the territorial limitation for common general knowledge; replacement of the “benefit of the doubt” standard with a “balance of probabilities” standard; and the exclusion of omnibus claims.

In the short term, we recommend requesting examination at the time of filing new national phase applications, and requesting examination of pending applications before 15 April 2013.

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