NEWS FLASH: Bill to radically alter Australian patent laws introduced to Senate

Further to our post on 15 March 2011,

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the Property Laws Amendment (Raising The Bar) Bill 2011 was introduced to the Senate late last week for consideration and debate. This is the first step in the process of the Bill becoming law. The Bill proposes to make a number of significant amendments to the Patents Act 1990, Trade Marks Act 1995, Designs Act 2003 and Plant Breeders Rights Act 1994, with the amendments intended to encourage innovation by supporting investment in research and technology, and to promote the exploitation of inventions.

A copy of the Bill and the Explanatory Memorandum is available here.

There are some important differences between the version of the Bill introduced to the Senate and the version released by IP Australia in March. Importantly, the Bill now proposes:

  • that a patent not be revoked on the ground that the patentee is not entitled unless it is “just and equitable” to do so in the circumstances; and
  • the addition of an objective standard to be applied when assessing the utility of a patent, such that the utility of the patent must be appreciated by a person skilled in the relevant art.

No doubt after consideration by the Senate further amendments will be made.

Stay tuned for more on the passage of the Bill.

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