Thursday, 4 February 2021
Designs Amendment (Advisory Council on Intellectual Property Response) Bill 2020; Second Reading
The Designs Amendment (Advisory Council on Intellectual Property Response) Bill 2020 will commence the recommendations from the 2016 Australian government's response to the former Advisory Council on Intellectual Property IP review of the design system.
You heard? That's all that matters, Senator Duniam! The bill will introduce a 12-month grace period to help protect designers from losing their rights if they accidentally publish or use their design before filing an application. There will also be an expanded prior-use-exemption infringement to protect third parties who start using designs during this 12-month window.
The design registration process is being simplified by making registration automatic six months after filing and removing the option to publish a design without registering. The bill extends innocent infringer defence to safeguard those who use designs that have been filed but not published on the Register of Designs. This is in alignment with other IP rights by giving exclusive licensees legal standing to sue for infringement.
The time line for the legislation to reach the parliament is also worthy of note. In 2012 the Advisory Council on Intellectual Property was tasked with the job of investigating the effectiveness of the design system in innovation by Australian users, and its impact on economic growth. A final report was handed down in March 2015 and the government didn't respond to the report until 6 May 2016. The legislation is only now being dealt with years after these recommendations were made.
Whilst Labor supports the bill, we continue to highlight the government's continued non-strategic approach to innovation policy and the failure to deliver timely R&D funding support for Australian manufacturing. Only $50 million of the government's $1.5 billion announcement is being made available to manufacturers this financial year. I commend the bill to the Senate.
I thank senators for their contributions on the Designs Amendment (Advisory Council on Intellectual Property Response) Bill 2020. I particularly want to note on this that we are here talking about intellectual property, and that covers a whole range of issues. I'm looking at the fact that Senator Brown is a very proud Tasmanian senator and I want to commend her particularly on something that we didn't get to deal with in the last session, and that is her support—along with that of all Labor senators, Senator Lambie and all Liberal senators—for the forestry industry. There are many intellectual property issues in that. I just wanted to put on record how proud I am to work with most of my Tasmanian Senate colleagues on issues like that. Hopefully, we'll get to deal with that motion that we didn't deal with before the next sitting week.
I thank senators for their contributions on this bill and, in commending the bill to the Senate, I also table an addendum to the explanatory memorandum relating to this bill. The addendum responds to concerns raised by the Scrutiny of Bills Committee.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a second time.