USPTO launches pilot program fast tracking patent applications related to COVID-19

/ Madderns / News

The US Patent and Trade Mark Office (USPTO) has launched a pilot program which provides fast tracked/prioritised examination for up to 500 US patent applications covering products or processes which are related to COVID-19 and subject to an applicable FDA approval.

This means that eligible applicants may be able to fast-track USPTO examination of a US non-provisional patent application for a significant cost and time saving. For example, for small entities, the usual USD2,000 official fee for fast-tracking an application is being waived. Current fast-tracked applications are typically examined within around 60-days vs around 18-months for non-fast tracked applications.

A US patent application may be used as a basis for further patent applications in other countries, if filed within certain time limits.

This follows the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) of 13 April 2020 announcing a limited window for waiving certain FDA requirements for face shields for the duration of the EUA.

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Export market development grant scheme increases support for businesses

/ Madderns / News

Eligible South Australian exporters can take advantage of the Federal Government’s announcement that it will inject an extra $49.8 million into the Export Market Development Grants program (EMDG), to bring the total level of funding under the scheme in the 2019/20 financial year to a $207.7m.

The EMDG program provides support to:

  • Encourage small to medium Australian businesses to develop export markets
  • Reimburse up to 50 per cent of eligible export promotion expenses above $5,000 provided the total expenses are at least $15,000
  • Provide up to eight grants to each eligible business

Critically, the funding allows businesses to apply for reimbursements for costs including the export of Intellectual Property.

For further information on the EMDG program and how to apply, visit the Austrade website.

For further information from Madderns, please see the following link: Media Release – Export market development grant scheme increases support for businesses

If you would like to speak to one of the experienced team members at Madderns to find out how we can be of  assistance, please call 8311 8311.

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Use Federal Stimulus to Protect Intellectual Property

/ Madderns / News

The Federal Government this month announced an increase in the instant asset write-off threshold, which presents an opportunity for businesses in defence and space, to biotechnology and health.

The announcement, as part of the Government’s COVID-19 stimulus package for businesses, increases the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and has been expanded to include businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million. Previously, the turnover had been $50 million.

The changes came into effect on 12 March until 30 June this year and applies on a per-asset basis.

South Australian companies are becoming increasingly recognised in defence, space, biotech and health and medical technologies. South Australia is home to leading centres of excellence like Tonsley Innovation District, Lot Fourteen, Edinburgh Parks and BioMed City – employing many of our State’s brightest to create new technologies and advancements in many fields.

The government’s announcement presents an ideal opportunity to take advantage of threshold changes to properly protect IP, such as patents, registered designs and copyright.

For further information, please see the following link: Media Release – Use Federal Stimulus to Protect Intellectual Property

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Say goodbye to your “Feta” cheese and “Kalamata” olive oil

/ Michael Dow / News

The Australian Government is negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU). As part of the FTA, the EU wants a variety of geographical indications (GIs) to be protected.

A GI indicates that a product comes from a specific geographical area. Use of a GI may indicate that the product was made according to, eg, traditional methods or may indicate a certain reputation. An example is “Champagne”, which refers to the specific region of France known for its sparkling wine.

The EU is looking for protection of a specific list of GIs (236 spirit names and 172 agricultural and other foodstuff names) which includes the names such as: “Camembert de Normandie” for cheese, “Καλαμάτα or Kalamata” for olive oil, “Φέτα or Feta” for cheese and “Scotch Beef” for meat. The EU has confirmed examples of where the protection it is seeking would not extend to the use of parts of EU GI names which are identified in the list by text that has been underlined. The complete list of names can be found here.

As well as seeking protection for the specific GIs, the EU is seeking broader protections that would prevent use of the GIs accompanied by an expression such as “style”, “type”, “method”, “as produced in”, “imitation”, “flavour”, “like” or similar, including when those products are used as an ingredient.

Accordingly, Australian cheese makers would no longer be able to sell cheese as “Feta” or even “Feta-style” or “Feta-like”. The same applies to “Kalamata” olive oil.

Seems like the EU is asking too much. Your thoughts?

If you have any objections, they can be made here and must be received by 6pm AEST Wednesday 13 November 2019.

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New Partners

/ Madderns / News

We are delighted to announce the promotion of Phillip Boehm and Kin Seong Long to Partner.

Phillip Boehm is an Australian and New Zealand Patent and Trade Mark Attorney within our specialist Engineering team.  Phil is a trusted IP advisor to his clients across mechanical engineering technologies, especially automotive, aeronautics, heavy transport and mining. Phil is noted by his clients for his pragmatic approach, and has a key mentoring  role within Madderns.

Dr Kin Seong Leong is an Australian and New Zealand Patent and Trade Mark Attorney within our specialist ICT team. With a strong technological background in communication systems and signal processing, especially in Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems and applications, Kin is able to understand new inventions and advise clients of the best IP protection. Kin is fluent in Mandarin and is a member of our China Team, which provides specialist filing and prosecution services for patents, trade marks and designs in China, as well as strategic IP advice including anti-counterfeiting and litigation strategy for that jurisdiction.

Commenting on the promotions, Managing Partner Tom Melville said: “We are very pleased to welcome both Phil and Kin to the Madderns partnership. Both have gained a strong client following and recognition in their respective fields of expertise. They are known for teaming with their clients in protecting IP at home and in global markets.”

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