Ian Cockburn, New Zealand and Australian Patent Attorney at PIPERS, recently informed us of some news pertaining to New Zealand and Australian patent law:
Despite the submissions following the earlier discussion paper, IP Australia and IPONZ have agreed on a three-year implementation plan regarding the way patent applications are processed and examined. The goal is to save customers time and money in providing strong patent protection.
The plan covers three stages:
Stage 1: Work Sharing
This stage seeks to improve the efficiency and quality of examination across both countries. The work sharing model is an essential step towards single examination and allows Australian and New Zealand patent examiners to rely on each other’s work. This will include examiner’s reports and searches for prior art. However, actual work sharing will not occur until the passing of New Zealand’s new patents legislation (expected in early 2012).
Stage 2: Single Application Process
By early 2013, it will be possible to submit a single patent application for both Australia and New Zealand and obtain a common filing date in both countries.
Stage 3: Single Examination
Patent applications common to Australia and New Zealand will be examined only once in either Australia or New Zealand, leading to separate decisions in both jurisdictions. The examiner would be required to consider differences in each country’s patent law. Single examination should be implemented by June 2014.
Thanks to Ian for sharing this valuable information. If you have any questions regarding the plan, please feel free to ask them in the comments section below.