Patrick Gunning  

Geoff Adams  
Senior Associate (Pro Bono & Community Programs)

Damien MacRae  
Knowledge Consultant

Maurice Gonsalves  
T +61 2 9296 2166

Scott Bouvier  
Maurice Gonsalves  
Patrick Gunning  
Nicole Heller  
Kim O'Connell  
Katrina Rathie  

Robert Cooper  
Natalie Hickey  
Cheng Lim  
Wayne McMaster  
Mark Weber  
Stephen Neenan  

Nigel Hunt  

John Swinson  

Adam Bartlett  

31 May 2007

In brief

New government IP principles issued

The Commonwealth Attorney-General recently released the Intellectual Property Principles for Australian Government Agencies (IP Principles). The IP Principles establish a broad policy framework on a range of IP-related matters, including:

  • IP management;
  • procurement;
  • record-keeping;
  • training;
  • public access to Government IP; and
  • transfer and commercialisation of IP

Under the IP Principles, agencies are responsible for managing IP under their control and developing an individual IP management framework that reflects the agency’s objectives and the IP Principles. All agencies covered by the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (Cth) must comply with the IP Principles by 1 July 2008. Other agencies are encouraged to consider the IP Principles “as an expression of good practice in the management of IP”.

The Government will release further information about implementing the IP Principles later this year in the form of an IP Better Practice Manual. For more information on the IP Principles see our Alert from 11 May 2007.

Australia signs WIPO internet treaties

On April 26, the Australian Government acceded to two international treaties that increase copyright protection in the digital environment. The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty were originally concluded in 1996 and are designed to encourage the growth of electronic commerce and to assist in the fight against internet piracy. Australia agreed to join the treaties as part of its obligations under the Australia-US and Australia-Singapore Free Trade Agreements.

Many of the obligations under the treaties have already been implemented by the Copyright Amendment (Digital Agenda) Act 2000 (Cth) and the US Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act 2004 (Cth). Outstanding obligations relating to the protection of the moral rights of performers and authors commenced on 26 July 2007 following the gazettal of the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

For more information on what these changes mean to your business, please contact us.