Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Signed
In relation to IP law some amendments are required for New Zealand, but Australian law is already compliant...
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) has now been signed. While the text has yet to be released a summary of its effects on New Zealand has been published.
The TPP is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Viet Nam. The TPP is expected to come into force within two years, once countries have completed their domestic legislative procedures. Some commentators have expressed doubt that it will enter into force in some countries, with the USA being a notable example. It is not currently clear whether other members would enact or seek amendment to the Agreement if it does not enter into force in the USA.
Copyright protection in music recordings and films will change from 50 years to 70 years after they were made. Copyright protection for books, screenplays, music, lyrics and artistic works will change from 50 years to 70 years after the death of the author. New Zealand will also need to amend the Copyright Act to provide greater rights to performers of copyright works such as musicians and actors.
Technological protection measures (TPMs), which control access to digital content like music, TV programmes, films and software will be enhanced by prohibiting circumvention unless narrow exceptions apply.
The Patents Act will require amendment to introduce extension of term provisions for unreasonable delays in examining the patent or getting regulatory approval for pharmaceutical patents. This will presumably be up to a maximum of 5 years. However, in practice it is expected that this will affect the patent term of only a small number of patents.
It appears that no amendments are required for Australia’s intellectual property law, since the above amendments required for New Zealand are already part of Australia’s law.
The TPP also reduces barriers to trade in services. Where obligations apply under the TPP, they ensure market access and non-discriminatory treatment for services providers. Some regulated services, including patent attorney services, are excluded from such obligations.