IP Australia, the Australian Government department that manages Intellectual Property Rights in Australia has released a report on the state of play of Intellectual Property Rights in Australia up to the start of 20141.
The Australian economy continues to perform strongly when compared to other G20 Nations. The Global Intellectual Property Index has Australia placed 5th.2
Last year was a particularly active year for IP in Australia with the IP Laws Amendment (“Raising the Bar”) Act 2012 introduced on 15 April 2013, further development of the Trans-Tasman (Australia and New Zealand) agreement to pursue a single IP offering and the implementation of electronic filing and correspondence with IP Australia. Spruson and Ferguson was the first firm to file electronically with IP Australia and the IP Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) using the new B2B systems.
According to the report3, in Australia the demand for patents in 2013 was up 13 percent, designs grew by 7 percent, plant breeders rights were up 9 percent and trademark filings were steady. The increase in demand for patents could be attributed to the introduction of the “Raising the Bar” Act which most likely brought forward the filing of a substantial number of cases.
In 2013 there was a total of 29,717 patent applications filed in Australia4. Interestingly though, of the patent applications filed in 2013, only about 10 percent were filed by Australian residents with approximately 44 percent coming from the United States5. Applicants from Japan, Germany and Switzerland also filed regularly in Australia.
The Report also discusses IP Australia examination timelines. For example, patent applications in Australia remain pending on average for about 3½ years and during 2013, 17,112 patents were granted. On average,after requesting examination the first Office Action issued within about 10 months6.
In 2013, 6,889 design applications were filed in Australia. Only about 5 percent of design applications were filed by Australian residents7.
Trade mark filings have remained relatively flat over the past few years. The Report indicates that there are studies suggesting trade mark filings are correlated with economic activity. There was a large increase in non-resident trade mark filings from China, Switzerland and South Korea8.
Regarding contentious matters such as patent oppositions, in 2013 107 patent oppositions were filed. With the average time between filing the Notice of Opposition and the Decision issuing being approximately 3 years. IP Australia took on average about 6 weeks to issue a Decision on a patent opposition after the hearing. The most active areas for Australian patent oppositions were pharmaceuticals and medical devices. In respect of trade marks, 1,401 trade mark oppositions were filed in 2013.9
The Report also discusses the movement of IP throughout the world and indicates that in 1995 Asia’s share of International patent applications was 8 percent and today its around 40 percent10. This clearly shows the move towards generating inventions and filing patent applications in the Asian Region. Spruson & Ferguson services the Asia Pacific region.
In summary, IP Australia is well placed to support and assist inventors and applicants with obtaining enforceable IP rights in a cost-effective and timely manner. Their cooperation with the Patent Attorney profession, Universities, Corporate Stakeholders and individual inventors bodes well for the future as the economy further strengthens. Australia is also well placed being located within the Asian Region.
1Australian Government, IP Australia, Australian Intellectual Property Report 2014. ISBN 978-09804542-3-9
2Ibid Page 3
3Ibid Page 3
4Ibid Page 8
5Ibid Pages 8, 9
6Ibid Page 9
7Ibid Page 11
8Ibid Pages 13, 14
9Ibid Page 32
10Ibid Page 16