Trans-Tasman Patents Implementation Plan
IP Australia and IPONZ have agreed on a three-year implementation plan to improve the way patent applications are processed and examined. Our goal is to save customers time and money in providing strong patent protection. The plan covers three stages as followed:
Stage 1: Work sharing
A work sharing model will improve the efficiency and quality of examination across both countries, and lets Australian and New Zealand patent examiners rely on each other's work. This will include examiners’ reports and searches for prior art. However, actual work sharing will not occur until the passing of New Zealand's new patents legislation.
Stage 2: Single application process
Customers will be able to submit a single patent application for both Australia and New Zealand and obtain a common filing date in both countries.
Stage 3: Single examination
Patent applications common to Australia and New Zealand will be examined only once in either Australia or New Zealand, leading to separate decisions in both jurisdictions. The examiner would be required to consider differences in each country's patent law. Single examination should be implemented by June 2014.
These important steps form a long term strategy to meet increasing demand for patents without sacrificing quality IP rights.