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Trans-Tasman Intellectual Property Co-Ordination


Trans-Tasman Economic Market: Intellectual Property Co-Ordination

IP Australia’s Director General, Dr Ian Heath, and New Zealand’s Chief Executive of the Ministry of Economic Development, Mr Geoff Dangerfield, today announced a joint work programme on intellectual property (IP) co-ordination between Australia and New Zealand.

“The work programme will cover the areas of patents, trademarks and plant breeders’ (or plant variety) rights” Dr Heath said.

“Our ultimate objective is to provide for a seamless intellectual property rights processing regime in each of these areas” said Mr Dangerfield.

The government agency heads said that Australia and New Zealand have a strong interest in providing intellectual property rights that promote innovation.

“By working together we can lower costs and improve services for businesses seeking IP rights in both Australia and New Zealand. Anything we do will also need to contribute to the development of global co-ordination.”

The work programme will be carried out by the two government agencies and will examine means to progress co-ordination both within existing laws and by aligning laws where possible. An initial report will be provided to both the Australian and New Zealand Governments in mid-2005.

“We are responding to the call from the Australian Treasurer and the New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister to develop a seamless trans-Tasman business environment, or “single economic market”, by reducing compliance costs and other regulatory barriers” Mr Dangerfield said.

This work programme will also fulfil the mandate in the 2000 CER MOU on the Co-ordination of Business Law that the two countries explore “the potential for more closely co-ordinating the granting and recognition of registered intellectual property rights.”

“Any co-ordination arrangements will need to ensure adequate availability of support services (such as patent attorneys) to business” Dr Heath concluded. “They will also need to be flexible enough to allow each country to pursue specific policy objectives (such as intellectual property issues of interest to Maori in New Zealand), while maintaining the overall thrust towards co-ordination of policies and processes”.

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