Productivity Commission recommends extensive changes to Australian IP – including fair use, circumventing geoblocks, abolishing business method and software patents and more!

Today, the Productivity Commission has released its draft report into Australia’s intellectual property arrangements. IP Whiteboard readers may recall that last year, the Federal Government asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a comprehensive review of Australia’s intellectual property system (see our previous post here). At 600 pages, the draft report is certainly comprehensive!

We have published an alert summarising the key recommendations in the Commission’s draft report, which is available here.

The Commission found that Australia’s intellectual property system has swung too far in favour of rights holders and therefore stated that action must be taken to rebalance Australia’s intellectual property arrangements.   Some of the key recommendations in the draft report include:

  • the introduction of a “fair use” exception to copyright infringement;
  • the protection of consumer rights to circumvent geoblocks;
  • the abolition of Australia’s second-tier innovation patent system;
  • expressly excluding business method and software patents from being patentable subject matter;
  • raising the threshold test for “inventive step” for patentability;
  • reforming the extension of term regime for pharmaceutical patents;
  • the repeal of section 51(3) of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CCA), which exempts licensing of intellectual property from certain competition law prohibitions;
  • abolishing defensive trade marks;
  • imposing higher fees for trade mark applications that seek overly broad trade mark rights; and
  • changes to the Federal Circuit Court to improve dispute resolution processes for low-value intellectual property disputes.

Submissions on the draft report to the Productivity Commission close on Friday 3 June 2016.

Stay tuned for our detailed analysis of the draft report.