AUSFTA will have an impact on IP issues


The Australian government has released the full text of the draft Australia-US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA). While its IP chapter mainly concerns copyright and patent issues, it also addresses domain names and trademarks.

With regards to domain names, the AUSFTA confirms Australia's commitment to providing an adequate forum to (i) fight cybersquatting, and (ii) settle domain name disputes arising in the '.au' country-code top-level domain, using the principles established in the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. Such a policy - namely the '.au' Dispute Resolution Policy - is already in place.

In relation to trademarks, some legislative changes appear to be required to deal with geographical indications and generic terms used for agricultural products. New provisions will be required to ensure that counterfeit products may not be released into the marketplace by simply removing unlawfully affixed trademarks.

The text published last month is still likely to be "subject to legal review for accuracy, clarity and consistency". A plain English version should be available on Australian and US government websites shortly.

Jim Dwyer, Raani Costelloe and Prataal Raj, Allens Arthur Robinson, Sydney

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