The Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP), an independent government-appointed body which advises the Australian Federal Government on IP issues, has released an issues paper as part of its review of the innovation patent system. The innovation patent was introduced into Australian law in 2001 as a way for inventors to obtain protection for "lower-level" inventions which might not meet the inventiveness requirement for standard patents.

ACIP is seeking submissions in response to the issues paper by 14 October 2011 from any interested parties. A copy of the issues paper is available from ACIP's website. The questions in relation to which ACIP seeks specific comments can be found in section 8.

The review has been prompted by concerns including that:

  • the innovation patent is overly generous given that it requires a lower inventive threshold, but offers the same remedies for infringement, as a standard patent;
  • some applicants are using the innovation patent system for tactical purposes regarding higher-level inventions rather than its intended purpose of protecting lower-level inventions; and
  • the innovation patent is inconsistent with the objectives of the Raising the Bar Bill, which aims to raise the standards against which IP rights are assessed.