Google Boss Praises Australian National Broadband Network – US Patent Reform Hits the House – Trans-Tasman Patent Attorney Regulation on the Horizon – More on Australian IP Law Reform – Australian Innovation Festival and World IP Day Imminent
GOOGLE BOSS PRAISES AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL BROADBAND NETWORKWe are continuing to keep an eye on the National Broadband Network (NBN) project, which is the A$43 billion plan to bring optical fibre to over 90% of all premises in the country. As we have said before, effective innovation requires the support of suitable infrastructure, and that the NBN will be an important component of Australia's infrastructure in the future.
Not everyone is a fan of the NBN, although the detractors seem mostly to be the sort of people who are opposed to government funding or ownership of almost anything. Yet the voices of support include some fairly high-profile people who ought to know what they are talking about. Last time we reported, it was so-called 'father of the Internet', Vint Cerf (see Cerf’s Up! ‘Father of Internet’ Praises National Broadband Network). Now it is outgoing Google CEO Eric Schmidt (by which we mean he is moving on to become executive chairman, not that he is especially extroverted, although of course he may be).
It seems that Schmidt has been talking up the NBN around the world, if recent reports news reports (here and here) are anything to go by. Of course, the public support is most likely about trying to encourage similar projects in other countries (especially the US) – Google's self-interest being something about which Schmidt has been refreshingly candid:
“We're completely guilty of that charge,” Mr Schmidt said. “As a result of this broadband infrastructure, Australian citizens will be able to get information faster, and they will be able to watch even more YouTube movies and waste their time."In other NBN news, however, the project has not been without its setbacks. Recently a tender process was indefinitely suspended, because NBN Co suspected bidders of price gouging. This was followed shortly by the announcement that head of construction, Patrick Flannigan, has abruptly resigned.
We hope that things will get back on track as quickly as possible!
US PATENT REFORM HITS THE HOUSEWhile we have been focused on the Australian IP Law Reform agenda, the US patent reform bill (now known as 'America Invents') has moved on from the Senate to the House of Representatives where, as reported by IPWatchdog's Gene Quinn, it is remarkably similar to the version that was overwhelmingly passed in the Senate.
For those of us in other jurisdictions, the biggest news is still the increasing probability that the US will finally join us in the 'first-to-file' club (see Could the US Really Move to 'First-to-File'?).
The House Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on 30 March 2011. You can watch the webcast here.
TRANS-TASMAN PATENT ATTORNEY REGULATION ON THE HORIZONAs part of the 'Single Economic Market (SEM) outcomes framework', which aims to accelerate and deepen trans-Tasman regulatory integration and make the IP system work more efficiently for innovators and businesses, IP Australia and the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) have released a discussion paper on a single trans-Tasman regulatory framework for the patent attorney profession.
The proposed reform establishes a single trans-Tasman governance body responsible for patent attorney education, training and disciplinary standards.
Hardly riveting news, obviously, but these changes will definitely come in some form or other, and could have a profound effect on members of the profession in both countries.
Comments on the discussion paper will be accepted up until 16 May 2011. More information is available from the IP Australia web site.
MORE ON AUSTRALIAN IP LAW REFORMOur focus here at Patentology is – not surprisingly – on patents. Readers with interests in other aspects of the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Bill 2011, and in particular the possibility of criminal sanctions for 'negligent' trade mark infringement, should take a look over at the Fortnightly Review.
AUSTRALIAN INNOVATION FESTIVAL AND WORLD IP DAY IMMINENTThe Australian Innovation Festival is about to kick-off, and celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2011 under the theme of Business | Innovation | Growth ('BIG', get it?).
The Festival runs from 26 April 2011 – which is also World IP Day – until the end of May, in all States and Territories of Australia.