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Government

Single patent process for Aus, NZ in 2013

There will be just one application process for patents in both Australia and New Zealand, following deliberations between Australian Innovation Minister Kim Carr and New Zealand Commerce Minister Simon Power.
Written by Suzanne Tindal, Contributor on

There will be just one application process for patents in both Australia and New Zealand, following deliberations between Australian Innovation Minister Kim Carr and New Zealand Commerce Minister Simon Power.

The two ministers said today that they have agreed to an implementation plan, which will see a single process by early 2013 and a single patent examination by June 2014.

This would remove duplication and reduce costs, while making it easier for businesses to get protection for patents in both countries.

Most of the patents filed in New Zealand were also filed in Australia, according to Carr.

"It is the government's role to encourage innovation, not hinder it with unnecessary administration processes," Carr said.

He said that businesses looking to file patents would be saving between $2000 and $5000 per invention, with the single portal. "We believe the single pathway to patent protection across Australia and New Zealand will, in turn, encourage inventors and businesses."

He also believed that the single market would give Australian and New Zealand innovators confidence to seek intellectual property protection overseas.

The ministers have also been looking at having a single regulation framework and body for patent attorneys in the two countries, releasing a discussion paper on the matter in April.

"Standardised accreditation for patent attorneys will give inventors confidence that they are receiving the same high-quality informed advice on both sides of the Tasman," said Power at the time, while Carr said it would save time, money and effort for the profession.

Officials are now analysing submissions, according to Power's office, and will be reporting to the ministers in due course.

The Institute of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys of Australia (IPTA) has put in a submission saying that it is not opposed to the establishment of a single regulatory body and register for patent attorneys, and that it considers that the responsibilities for the body set out in the paper to be generally appropriate.

The Australian Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys also submitted a supplementary document, saying that it is important that, where the standards differ between the countries in accreditation, the better standard is taken for both countries.

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