Since August 2009, the Australian and New Zealand governments have been focussing on a Single Economic Market (SEM) framework, which aims to accelerate trans-Tasman regulatory integration including in the area of Intellectual Property Law.
In the area of patents, this reform is directed to implementing filing of a single patent application which designates both Australia and New Zealand. The single application can be filed either in Australia or New Zealand. The single application will be examined for both countries by either an Australian or New Zealand patent examiner who will consider both Australian and New Zealand patent legislation. The examiner will then issue two separate examination reports simultaneously.
This reform is intended to ensure cost savings in filing and examination fees for applicants who wish to obtain patents in both Australia and New Zealand. Time efficiencies will also be achieved in prosecution.
The implementation plan for this single patent application and examination process is intended to be delivered by 30th June 2011.