In the latter part of 2017, IP Australia sought comment on a proposed bill, the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission Response Part 1 and Other Measures) Bill (Part 1 Bill), for changes to a number of IP policy matters – one of which included the abolishment of Australia’s innovation patent system.

The proposed change was met with opposition from a number of parties arguing that the innovation patent system should remain, but possibly in an amended form, since it is an important form of protection for local Australian innovators.

In early 2018, the Part 1 Bill was introduced to the Australian Parliament notably omitting the proposed abolition of the innovation patent system. IP Australia indicated that:

“the Government has decided to undertake further consultation targeted at better understanding the needs of innovative SMEs before the phase out of the innovation patent occurs”.

On 23 July 2018, IP Australia announced a further bill, the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill (Productivity Commission Response Part 2 and Other Measures) (Part 2 Bill) which reintroduces the phasing out of the innovation patent system.

IP Australia’s announcement comes at a time when New Zealand, one of Australia’s largest trading partners, are looking to create their own version of an innovation patent, known as the advancement patent.

The Part 2 Bill is open for public consultation until 31 August 2018. IP Australia have posed consultation questions for consideration – but have pointed out that there has already been consultation on the innovation patent and perhaps ominously none of posed questions relate to the innovation patent.

IP Australia expect the Part 2 Bill be intended for introduction into Parliament in late 2018 or early 2019.