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Abolition of the Australian innovation patent

The abolition of the Australian innovation patent will likely be confirmed in late 2019.

The Australian innovation patent is an 8 year patent intended to protect lower level inventions that do not qualify for 20 year patents. There have long been criticisms that innovation patents are too easy to get and can validly cover too much.

After much discussion and a few false starts (see e.g. here), a bill[1] to abolish the innovation patent was introduced to Parliament 25 July 2019 and was today referred to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee. The committee is due to report 4 September 2019. The progress of the bill can be tracked here.

There is a good chance that the bill will pass. Even so, innovation patents will not immediately disappear. The bill provides for an orderly phase-out that protects existing rights holders (in line with draft legislation discussed here). The timing will depend on when the bill passes and receives royal assent, although it seems likely that the last innovation patents:

  • will be linked back to an initial patent application filed by about late 2020; and
  • will expire by about late 2028.

Accordingly:

  • it may well be prudent to modify patent filing strategies as late 2020 draws near; and
  • innovations will no doubt remain controversial features of the Australian patent landscape for years to come.

 

 

[1] the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission Response Part 2 and Other Measures) Bill 2019

Authored by

Ben Mott Patent Attorney & Mechanical Engineer Ben Mott

Mechanical Engineer & Patent Attorney