Not a good idea: Joint NZ/Aus patent plan scrapped

Parliament’s Commerce Committee was critical of the process to develop the proposed changes

A plan to enable a single patent application to be submitted for New Zealand and Australian patents has been scrapped following several years in gestation, after being rejected as unnecessary by the public.

On the New Zealand side the proposal got as far as being incorporated into a bill before being removed following receipt of public submissions.

Writing on the Lexology legal website, Corinne Cole, Matt Adams and Teresa Griffiths from trans-Tasman law firm AJ Park said the idea had been under discussion for a few years: “The Parliamentary Commerce Select Committee heard from the public for the first time when it called for submissions on the bill. They were told that nobody would use it. So the committee has recommended that the idea be shelved… The overwhelming majority of submitters said it was not needed, and that neither a single patent application process nor a single patent examination process would deliver any real benefits to businesses or the patent attorney firms making applications on their behalf.”

In a report on the bill the Parliament’s Commerce Committee was critical of the process to develop the proposed changes.

“We consider that there was a lack of consultation with patent attorneys and the rest of the industry before the development and proposal of these enabling provisions. Moreover, we consider that quantification of likely costs—that is, the costs of developing and implementing these processes, and the compliance costs to the industry and patent applicants—was inadequate,” it said.

The Labour minority view in the report was scathing: “Labour is concerned that a lack of both pre-consultation with stakeholders and general due diligence taken before this bill was tabled in Parliament have resulted in wasted taxpayers dollars and a frustrating exercise,” it said.

“This points to badly drafted legislation and raises questions about the adequacy of government policy directions that lie behind this bill, along with poor process in its drafting. We are concerned that the debacle of process of this bill through select committee has become a trend under this Government… There was no pre-consultation with New Zealand innovation businesses or the patent attorneys on the viability or need for the SAP and SEP system before the legislation was drafted.We consider this has been a very sloppy, unedifying process of law drafting.”

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