Express law No. 152

9 May 2012

Updated Australian Government intellectual property guidance for agencies

The Attorney-General's Department (AGD) has recently released updatd guidance for agencies on intellectual property management and licensing issues through new versions of the Australian Government Intellectual Property Manual (the IP Manual) and the Guidelines for Licensing Public Sector Information for Australian Government Agencies (the Guidelines).

The IP Manual and Guidelines are available on AGD's website.

Why has the guidance been updated?

The IP Manual has been updated to reflect changes to Government policy following the 2008 Review of the Australian Government's Use of Information and Communications Technology (the Gershon Review), the Government Response to the Report of the Government 2.0 Taskforce and the corresponding changes to the Commonwealth's Statement of Intellectual Property Principles for Australian Government Agencies (Statement of IP Principles).

The IP Manual provides practical guidance to agencies on the implementation of better practice IP management in accordance with the Statement of IP Principles (compliance with which is mandatory for agencies that are subject to the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997).

While not prescriptive in detailing how agencies must manage their IP or make licensing decisions, the IP Manual is designed to assist agencies to make their own decisions based on agency objectives and responsibilities.

The recently released Guidelines are the final version of the draft Guidelines that were released for comment in February 2011. Following receipt of submissions, AGD amended and has now finalised the Guidelines. The Guidelines are designed to assist agencies to implement Principle 11(b) of the updated Statement of IP Principles, which deals with the licensing of Public Sector Information to the public on open access terms. The Guidelines are intended to supplement the guidance in the IP Manual.

What should agencies do now?

Agencies should develop or update their agency IP policies based on this new guidance by AGD. In addition, they should consider how they manage licensing of their Public Sector Information in light of this guidance.

AGS is experienced in assisting agencies to develop and update their IP policies and procedures and to create and maintain their IP registers. AGS also regularly advises agencies on the licensing of Public Sector Information. As noted by AGD in the IP Manual, AGS can assist agencies in using or adapting particular open access licences (such as Creative Commons or other such licences) in respect of their Public Sector Information.

For more information, assistance or advice, please contact:

Rachel Chua
Senior Executive Lawyer
T 02 6253 7086

Adrian Snooks
Senior Executive Lawyer
T 02 6253 7192

Tony Beal
Deputy General Counsel
T 02 6253 7231

Kenneth Eagle
Senior Executive Lawyer
T 03 9242 1290

Important: The material in Express law is
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information only, and further analysis on the matter
may be prepared by AGS. The material should not be
relied upon for the purpose of a particular matter.
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