Thursday 22 May 2008

PPS proposed for Australia

In November 2006 the Australian Attorney-General released a discussion paper proposing significant Personal Property Securities (PPS) reforms.[1] In this context, “personal property” is any form of tangible or intangible property (other than land or buildings) and includes IP rights. The proposed reforms intend to establish a single, national PPS regime for the registration, protection and enforcement of personal property securities in Australia. The immediate need for reform is the existence of more than 70 separate Acts currently governing PPS in Australia and the reforms are based on similar PPS systems adopted in Canada and the United States.

On 16 May 2008,the A-G released a “consultation draft” of the Personal Property Securities Bill 2008 for public comment.[2] Submissions have been invited by 15 August 2008. At the same time, the A-G’s Department also released a Request for Tender that invites bids from information technology companies interested in building the new electronic PPS Register.

The stated goals of the PPS reform are
* to simplify the existing, fragmented PPS system by creating a single, national online register covering all forms of personal property (including, therefore, all forms of IP);
* to provide a more certain system of taking, registering, and searching security interests over all personal property; and

* to make secured lending more cost-effective and attractive to lenders.
The consultation period runs for three months and, although the PPS legislation has a high political priority, it would be optimistic to think that the Act in its final form will be passed before 2009. Drafting the legislation is the (comparatively) easy part - building the IT platform for the PPS Register may take much longer.[3]

[1] Attorney-General’s Department, “Review of the Law on Personal Property Securities – Discussion Paper 1 – Registration and Search Issues”, November 2006.
[2] See here. Press Release here
[3] See the Press Release here

This item was supplied to IP Finance by Australian solicitor Julian Gyngell.

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