Region: Australia

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

Big tobacco's challenge disappears in a puff of smoke

The Australian High Court has rejected a constitutional challenge by major tobacco company Philip Morris and others against the government's tobacco plain packaging legislation. The companies had argued that, with compulsory plain packaging laws, the government would acquire their intellectual property unjustly, and that the legislation deprives them of the right to use their intellectual property.

22 August 2012

Generating content in the internet age

In a significant blow to Google’s business model, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia has unanimously found that Google engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct by publishing a competitor’s web address in sponsored links appearing in response to an enquiry made through Google’s search engine. The decision overturns an earlier finding that Google was a mere conduit of the misrepresentations.

11 July 2012

Gene patent opponents take the fight back to Parliament

Less than eight months ago the most recent attempt to legislate against so-called "gene patents" was effectively killed by a Senate committee report. Although the Intellectual Property Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act 2012 has since been passed, opponents of gene patents remain unsatisfied. However, it has now been reported that there will be a new push to ban gene patenting through a private member's bill.

13 June 2012

A new treatment for business methods

Over the past two years the Australian Patent Office has issued a string of decisions rejecting applications for so-called "business method patents" on the grounds of unpatentable subject matter. The recent Patent Office decision of <i>Celgene Corporation</i> has been received with interest, as it marks a subtle departure from the prevailing Patent Office treatment of business method patents.

11 April 2012

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