The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act 2012 received Royal Assent on 15 April 2012 and raised the threshold required to grant standard patents. The Act now prevents patents for speculative inventions which require further research and expands the common general knowledge and prior art basis, making it harder to satisfy the inventive step necessary for patent ability.

Intellectual Property (IP) Australia believed the bar needed to be raised higher and is inviting public comment on a proposal to amend the Patents Act 1990, which would raise the patentability threshold for Innovation Patents to the same level of inventiveness as required for Standard Patents. IP Australia states that this change is needed to prevent ‘evergreening’, the strategy in which companies use Innovation Patents to extend the life of their patents, and is aimed at stopping companies creating a wall of patents which hinders rivals’ ability to invent a given invention.

Submissions should be directed to IP Australia.