Legislation amendments, with the aim of tightening the requirements for the granting of patents, and increasing the level of damages for trademark infringements, were introduced into parliament today.
The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Bill 2011 aims to increase the quality of Australian patents to bring them in line with global standards. It aims to help Australians take their inventions overseas, and also to encourage overseas companies to bring their products here, according to Innovation Minister Kim Carr.
"Raising patent standards will align Australia with key trading partners, and mean that foreign companies can bring the best and newest technologies to Australia confident that their [intellectual property] can be protected," he said in a statement.
Red tape has also been targeted with the amendments, in the hope that seeking an intellectual property right will not be as onerous as it has previously been.
Researchers are set to be given more clarity around patents, with the amendments making a distinction between research and commercial activities, saying that research and experiments relating to patented inventions are exempt from infringements.
While research has received a reprieve, the amendments crack down on trademark infringements, increasing penalties by giving courts the discretion to order additional damages (these damages are already available for infringements of patents, registered designs and copyright). It also touches on better border security measures for infringing goods.
Such legislation could see higher penalties imposed in suits such as that brought against daily deals site Scoopon by global company Groupon.