The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act 2015 (Cth) (“the Act”) was finally assented on February 25, after having been introduced into Parliament early last year. The Act makes a number of changes across Australia’s intellectual property system, amending the Patents Act 1990, Trade Marks Act 1995, Designs Act 2003 and the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act 1994. The Act is designed to make some major changes, including implementing the World Trade Organization TRIPS Agreement (see below), allowing owners of plant breeder’s rights to pursue actions more quickly and informally through the Federal Circuit Court and introducing a joint patent application and examination process with New Zealand.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has called on the Federal Court to hand Coles a penalty of over $5 million for misleading consumers over the freshness of its bread products, with independent supermarkets calling for an even bigger fine.
In his recent National Security Statement (23 February 2015) the Prime Minister, in speaking to the broader issues of foreign fighters, terrorism and national security, has indicated that the government intends to introduce significant changes to the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 (No 20 of 2007) (CTH) (the Citizenship Act) namely, the prospect of removal of citizenship and its privileges as a sanction or deterrent for would be foreign fighters and radicalised citizens who become terrorists.
Yesterday, the Federal Government introduced the Australian Border Force Bill 2015 and the Customs and Other Legislation Amendment (Australian Border Force) Bill 2015. The Bills set out the legislative changes to implement the merging of the Customs and Immigrations Department into one mega department, to be known as the “Australian Border Force”. The change has been on the cards for some time, having been originally announced in May 2014 by then Immigration Minister Scott Morrison. He told ABC News last year that the merger would result in “hundreds of millions [of dollars] in savings”, and would “put Australia’s national security interests first”.
The Communications Alliance, a joint body of internet service providers (ISPs), communications providers and rights holders, has released a draft “Copyright Notice Scheme” ("the Draft Scheme"). The Draft Scheme has been developed in response to a deadline set by the Federal Government, who announced that they would “impose binding arrangements” on the industry if a code was not developed by April 8, 2015. The Draft will be open for public comment until March 23, and will then be submitted to the Australian Communications and Media Authority for approval.
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