Region: Australia

Functional ingredients: the past may come back to bite you!

A recent decision by the Full Bench of the Federal Court may have a far-reaching impact on the food technology sector in Australia. The case raises concerns for developers of food products with ingredients which impart beneficial functions other than supporting good nutrition.

10 April 2013

Government pledges new equity funding for innovative start-ups

The Australian government’s recently released Industry and Innovation Statement contains a number of measures aimed at securing and increasing the number of Australian jobs. It also contains legislative measures that directly affect existing small and medium-sized enterprises and large companies, as well as start-up businesses, engaged in developing new and innovative products and processes.

13 March 2013

Extension of time provisions to extend patent terms

In an appeal from a Patent Office decision to grant an extension of time, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal recently considered whether the Patent Office had the power to grant an extension of time to apply for an extension of a patent term outside the prescribed period, and whether the office’s use of discretionary powers in awarding the extension was justified.

27 February 2013

Federal Court of Australia confirms that human genes are patentable

In <i>Cancer Voices Australia v Myriad Genetics Inc</i> – a landmark decision concerning the patentability of BRCA genes which are found in sufferers of breast and ovarian cancers – a single judge of the Federal Court of Australia has held that human genes are patentable. The judge distinguished this case from the US Court of Appeals decision in <i>Association for Molecular Pathology v United States Patent and Trademark Office</i>.

20 February 2013

Are you ready for the raised bar in Australia?

The Australian patent and other IP laws are set to undergo their most significant change in a number of years. The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act passed into law last year, and the majority of the provisions will come into effect on 15th April 2013. The changes will affect trademark, design, plant breeders' rights and copyright law, but most notably patent law.

06 February 2013

Trademark licensors beware

A company has registered a logo for solar panels and installation services and licenses the logo to another company for use in relation to marketing solar energy systems. This sounds fairly routine, so what could possibly go wrong? Quite a bit, as shown by a recent Federal Court of Australia decision.

30 January 2013

Patent opposition practice: Raising the Bar, considerably!

The extension of time provisions for the evidentiary rounds of patent oppositions are heavily utilised and a decision usually takes at least two and a half years after the opposition is filed. However, the "Raising the Bar" provisions, which come into force in April 2013, are set to change Australian opposition practice considerably for the better - but potentially for the worse.

16 January 2013

Pharmaceutical Patents Review Panel releases background and issues paper

On 21st November 2012 the Pharmaceutical Patents Review Panel released a background and suggested issues paper for a pharmaceutical patents review. The review will evaluate whether the system for pharmaceutical patents effectively balances the objectives of securing timely access to competitively priced pharmaceuticals, fostering innovation and supporting employment in research and industry.

28 November 2012

"Soled" out: Louboutin is hot on his heels

After successfully protecting his "red sole" trademark in the United States, designer Christian Louboutin has registered a colour trademark in Australia in the particular Pantone shade 18.1663TP, as applied to the sole of a shoe. The developments highlight the real difficulties of obtaining and enforcing a colour trademark.

03 October 2012

Adding GRANOLA to the mix? Reviewing the risks of genericism

The Federal Court's recent decision regarding alleged infringement of Sanitarium's trademark registration for GRANOLA highlights the importance of brand owners taking active steps to prevent their unique brands from becoming generic. This case highlights the real risk of losing one's brand to genericide.

12 September 2012

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