IP reform means less red tape for drug firms

11 February, 2015

An Act which simplifies aspects of Australia's Intellectual Property system will mean generic drug manufacturers will have less red tape to deal with when seeking permission to manufacture patented drugs.

The federal government's Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 2015, which passed the Senate on Tuesday, will make it cheaper and easier to protect and enforce certain IP rights, and make it simpler for developing countries to get help in dealing with major public health crises.

"This new legislation will streamline business between Australia and New Zealand by simplifying the process for innovators seeking to patent the same invention in both countries," Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Science, Karen Andrews said.

"It allows for a single patent attorney regime and a single patent application and examination process, making it easier for businesses to protect their IP in both countries."

The Act can help people in developing countries who face life-threatening illnesses such as malaria, HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis.

"Generic drug manufacturers will now be able to apply to Australia's Federal Court for permission to manufacture patented drugs – drugs that would otherwise be too costly -- and then export the medicine to a developing country facing a health crisis," Andrews said.

"Good international citizen"

"This reflects Australia's role as a good international citizen, and meets our commitment to implement the Protocol amending the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property."

These changes will help ensure that we have an efficient and streamlined intellectual property system. It reduces red tape and regulatory costs for Australian business, and gives Australia the ability to help those in need.

More information about the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 2015 can be found on IP Australia's website at www.ipaustralia.gov.au.