The Australian Productivity Commission is launching an inquiry into Australia’s Intellectual Property (IP) Laws and it is set to take aim at a number of wide-ranging and re-surfacing issues. The inquiry follows the Harper Review Final Report which recommended substantive changes in Australia’s IP regime.
The inquiry is intended to be broad and informed by IPs over-arching policy consideration; creating a balance, between the often competing goals, of competition incentive and innovation protection. Another informing factor will be Australia’s obligations under International Law which places a limit on domestic reform. The recent conclusion of the Trans –Pacific Partnership drew attention to relevant issues including whether there should be some guiding principles for negotiations of international agreements and to what extent investor state dispute settlement provisions are effective. Both of these issues will be under review.
Perhaps most considerably, the inquiry will address specific areas of IP. In the world of Copyright this will include staring down the challenges posed by the digital era including looking at what role fair dealing and/or use might play. This is no small task but one which is essential if the Copyright Act is to remain relevant and effective, particularly for creators. In the world of Patents the inquiry will look at issues such as the usefulness of the innovation patent system, flexibility in the face of technology and specific barriers to innovation and growth.
Submissions to the inquiry close on November 30th 2015. If you are eager to have your say in virtually any area pertaining to IP then this is your chance. The Commission is expected to have its final report ready by mid-August 2016.