request for comment is part of a push by the ruling
Liberal party to eliminate AU$1 billion ($940 million) each
year in costs throughout the government. Commenters are
encouraged to identify any IP-related rule, regulation or even
an application form and explain the cost and suggestions on how
to reduce the burden.
A trend toward IP efficiency
One of the benefits of the trend toward the global
harmonisation of intellectual property is a lowering of the
administrative burden for practitioners. Systems such as the
PCT, patent prosecution highways and the Madrid Protocol seek
to reduce the amount of unnecessarily repeated work, and IP
Australia’s initiative appears to cover some of
the same ground on a national level.
Australia is of course not the only country looking to
improve its IP system through streamlining and increasing
efficiency. The USPTO for example recently announced several
executive actions that deputy director
Michelle Lee says will reduce red tape and delay. Similarly
India has made
notable strides in speeding up many procedures such as the
lodging of oppositions; whereas a paper opposition may have
taken up to a week to be lodged with the office, filings made
with the new online system are lodged immediately.
Though long delays and unnecessarily burdensome requirements
should be addressed, proposals to increase efficiency can cause
problems of their own. In
Indonesia for example, the newest draft revision to the
Trademark Law looks to publish all applications that have
passed a formality examination, rather than just those
applications which have passed substantive examination.
Practitioners suggest that the purpose is to increase
efficiency in two ways - first by allowing the public to act as
a filter by letting it review all applications before
substantive examination, and second by preventing
re-examinations in the event an opposition is filed after
substantive examination. However, there is concern that this
will actually make it more difficult for rights holders to
monitor their marks by increasing the number of marks
China is seeing similar challenges. While the new Trademark
Law has been generally well-received, one new provision, which
looks to speed up the registration process by
immediately registering marks that have survived an
opposition, is still fairly controversial. Similarly, while
rights holders may appreciate the new requirement that the
trade mark office complete examinations within nine months of
receipt, there is
anecdotal evidence that the rush to speed may have resulted in
some poorly-reasoned decisions.
Australians (and others), let your voices be heard
Those interested in making suggestions on how to eliminate
red tape in Australia’s IP system may send their
comments to email@example.com.
For Managing IP readers both in and outside of Australia, what
are some of the speed-bumps and red tape that you deal with at
your local IP office?