19 December 2023

IP Australia is Seeking Feedback on Proposed Fee Changes

Balancing the books

IP Australia has published a draft of its four-yearly Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS), which outlines proposed fee changes that would take effect from October 2024.  It is also taking the opportunity to review the hearing costs that may be awarded for Patents, Trade Marks and Designs.  Feedback on the proposals may be provided via submissions to IP Australia’s public consultation page.  Consultation is open until Sunday, 21 January 2024

In this article I will be looking in greater detail at some of the changes relating to patents in particular.  Stakeholders with an interest in any of the rights administered by IP Australia (patents, trade marks, registered designs and plant breeder’s rights) should take the opportunity to review the draft CRIS and submit any comments or concerns during the consultation period.  Briefly, on non-patent matters, I note that there are significant changes proposed to the fee structure associated with trade mark opposition hearings, with fees that increase with the number of grounds, beyond the first three, raised in a Statement of Grounds and Particulars (SGP), and with the number of prior trade marks, beyond the first ten, cited under section 44.  For designs, it is proposed to reduce application fees, while the fees for requesting examination will be slightly increased.  For Plant Breeder’s Rights, modest increases to application fees are proposed, however there will be more substantial increases in examination fees, and a doubling of renewal fees.

Registered trans-Tasman attorneys will want to take note that IP Australia is also proposing to increase registration renewal fees by A$50 across the board, which it says is required ‘to assist in covering the cost of administering the Trans-Tasman IP Attorney system.’

In the patents area, the headline changes, discussed in greater detail below, are: modest increases to most filing, examination and renewal fees; a doubling of opposition and hearing fees; a change in the timing (but not amount) of excess claim fees, from being charged at acceptance to (also) being charged at the time of requesting examination; a surprising (and perhaps unintentional) removal of innovation patent filing fees; and significant increases to the level of costs that can be awarded in contested proceedings, including patent oppositions.

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