Region: Australia

Minister proposes patents, not papers, as basis for research grants

In a recent address, Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane stated that university researchers should receive government grants based on the number of patents they are granted, not the number of academic papers they publish. Although the minister is correct in identifying that Australia is lagging in its protection of intellectual property, his proposal has faced harsh criticism and has fundamental flaws.

20 August 2014

Plain packaging for alcohol may happen sooner than you think

Since late 2012 cigarettes and other tobacco products in Australia must be sold in plain packaging and include large health warnings and disturbing graphics of the ill-health effects of smoking. This led to debate over how plain packaging might spread to other industries, particularly the alcohol industry. Now New South Wales has taken initial steps that may eventually lead to plain packaging laws for alcohol products.

13 August 2014

End of the road: BP runs out of fuel in long-running attempt to register green as trademark

IP Australia has refused a long-running application by oil giant BP to register the colour green as a trademark in relation to vehicle service stations. The decision comes more than 12 years after BP filed its trademark application. However, it is unlikely that the outcome will surprise many, given BP’s past failed attempts to register green trademarks in Australia.

23 July 2014

The Australian patent area: as obscure as fog at sea?

For many commercially important sectors (eg, manufacturing, onshore mining and pharmaceuticals), definition of the 'Australian patent area' presents no issue. However, this question is far from straightforward where patented inventions are practised offshore, particularly in the growing offshore natural gas sector.

26 March 2014

You have a patent – now what?

Once you have obtained a granted Australian patent, preliminary steps can be taken to enforce your rights without necessarily instigating court proceedings, such as a cease and desist letter and customs actions. Careful consideration should be given to an intention to send a cease and desist letter as there are risks associated with making allegations of infringement in Australia.

05 March 2014

Remedies for IP rights infringement: delay and injunction

Remedies for IP rights infringement in Australia include monetary compensation and injunctions. An injunction to restrain infringement is a powerful remedy and is sought as relief in many infringement cases. However, the remedy for infringement can be conditioned to take account of the plaintiff’s conduct, so the enforcement of IP rights should not be delayed.

19 February 2014

Is abolition or greater control of gene patents still on the parliamentary agenda?

The issue of the patent eligibility of genetic subject matter has been on the Australian patent radar for many years. However, the recent establishment of a much more conservative Parliament may result in a higher likelihood of success for legislation to exclude gene patents.

12 February 2014

High Court affirms that methods of treatment are still patentable in Australia

Recent years have presented significant challenges to the biotechnology sector, in both Australia and the United States, in terms of what types of technology should continue to be regarded as patentable subject matter. This has resulted in uncertainty in relation to the future of biotechnology patenting. Therefore, the High Court's recent affirmation that methods of treatment remain patent-eligible subject matter in Australia has been welcomed.

11 December 2013

Courts play host to NPE global licensing strategies

The patent system has received much critical attention recently due to the activities of patent 'trolls' or, less pejoratively, non-practising entities (NPEs). Much of the NPE-related patent litigation commenced to date has been in the United States. However, NPE Vringo Infrastructure Inc has now commenced litigation against Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer ZTE Corporation in Australia, among other countries.

13 November 2013

What am I buying? The integrity of certification labels

As consumers, we understand the power of branding and the value of trademarks. Increasingly, products now also bear certification labels claiming certain qualities or characteristics. Consumer confidence in these types of product claim depends not only on the integrity of the certification programme, but also on the integrity of the companies that use and apply certification labels.

04 September 2013

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