A consultation is underway to seek views on proposed amendments to the Patents Act 1990 in relation to patentable subject matter.

In November 2011, the Government issued its response to three reports into gene patents and patentable subject matter. The Government accepted recommendations to amend the Patents Act 1990 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.

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.

A brief 8-page consultation paper has been released to encourage discussion and seek views on the proposed amendments.  The consultation paper does not provide any clarification of what is required for the commercialisation of an invention to be “wholly offensive”, nor who would be an ordinary reasonable and fully informed member of the Australian public.

The consultation paper sets out specific questions and we invite interested parties to make written submissions by 27 September 2013.

Find out more information about the Consultation Paper.