In responding to three reports on patentable subject matter, the Australian Government has accepted recommendations to amend the Patents Act 1990. The Government proposes to amend the Act to introduce:
- An objects clause to provide clarity in the interpretation of the Act, and
- A patentability exclusion to prevent the commercialisation of inventions that would be wholly offensive to the Australian public.
The three reports inquired into the issue of patentable subject matter, particularly as it relates to the patenting of isolated gene sequences. However, it should be noted that the recommended exclusion is technology neutral, with the rationale that the same requirements should apply to all technologies. Further, the system should have sufficient flexibility to deal with current and future issues as they arise.
This recommended exclusion is an:
… exclusion for an invention the commercial exploitation which would be wholly offensive to the ordinary reasonable and fully informed member of the Australian public.
IP Australia has released a consultation paper to encourage discussion, and seek views on the proposed amendments. The proposed amendments could potentially have significant ramifications for you and your IP interests. We therefore encourage you to read the brief 8-page paper and submit your views to IP Australia by 27 September 2013.