2021 has been quite a busy year in all areas of business. In particular, a number of noteworthy events occurred in the intellectual property space that all Australian businesses should be aware of.

Below is a snapshot of key IP moments in 2021:

Design Amendment Bill

On 30 August 2021, The Designs Amendment (Advisory Council on Intellectual Property Response) Bill 2020 was passed by the Australian Parliament. The Bill finally introduces a 12 month “grace period” to protect designers who disclose their design before filing for protection. Previously, a designer would lose the ability to secure a design registration if the published it first.

Patent Box Tax Regime

The Federal Government also announced a “patent box tax regime” for Australian medical and biotechnology industries which will take effect from 1 July 2022. The proposed move aims to encourage innovation in Australia by providing a concessional rate of 17%, brought down from the conventional tax rate of 30%.

AI Inventors

On 30 July 2021, the Federal Court handed down the controversial decision to allow an artificial intelligent being to be listed as the ‘inventor’ on a patent application. The decision overturned a longstanding industry practice to reject an application where the creator was not a natural person.

Covid Vaccines

The Federal Government is likely to join an international movement to waive intellectual property protections over COVID-19 vaccines in the future. A waiver would ensure private manufacturers cannot block access to essential materials in creating competing vaccinates in developing nations and would further ensure unaffordable prices do not delay the rollout of global immunisation.

With all this rapid change it is important to always seek professional advice in relation to your IP.

For further information or advice on your intellectual property rights, contact the intellectual property team at Rouse Lawyers.