Intellectual Property Rights

IP Australia official fees set to rise

May 18, 2012

IP Australia have announced fee increases associated with its services, taking effect 1 July 2012. Most changes will occur from 1 July, however the introduction of the proposed new application filing fee is deferred until 1 October 2012.

A review of the new fee structure shows that while many official fees remain unchanged after 1 July, many increase by 20% or more.

The good news for trade mark and registered design owners is that official fees are relatively unchanged, or increase marginally, while patent owners bear the bulk of the increases. This change goes some way to addressing the historical subsidisation of patent operations by the Trade Marks Office.

The fee increases follow IP Australia’s Fee Review last year, which identified some guiding principles for their future fee models.

IP Australia wishes to:

  • keep fees as low as practicable, and comparable with other international offices
  • provide incentives, by way of discounts, to encourage electronic and web-based transactions
  • avoid cross-subsidisation between the patents, trade marks and designs groups
  • allow for cost-recovery and sustainable finances, while allowing for policy considerations

While cost-recovery is the order of the day, IP Australia takes into account the entire lifecycle of each of the IP rights it administers. Consequently, while application and examination costs are offered at discount, renewals are offered at a premium.

IP Australia believes that this encourages affordable access to the IP system and better schedules the costs to applicants. Similarly, official fees associated with oppositions are also offered at a discount for policy reasons and in recognition that few applications undergo this process.

Significantly for patent applicants and owners, the new fee structure introduces a 4th year renewal fee, in addition to the existing renewal fees which start with a 5th year renewal fee. The 4th year renewal fee applies to all patent applications or patents whose fourth anniversary falls on or after 1 July 2012: that is, all applications filed on or after 1 July 2008, and all patents with a date of patent on or after 1 July 2008. Unfortunately, for administrative reasons, IP Australia has advised patent applications and patentees that 4th year renewal fees cannot be paid in advance, and must instead be paid on or after 1 July 2012.

Full details of the scheduled new fee increases are available from the IP Australia web site, www.ipaustralia.gov.au

by David Perkins

filing   intellectual property

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