The innovation patent system was introduced in Australia in 2000 and was designed to protect inventions with a lower inventive threshold. While the system has been reviewed several times since its implementation, the current review by the Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP) is to: Inquire, report and make recommendations on the effectiveness of the innovation patent system in stimulating innovation by Australian small to medium business enterprises.

ACIP has been directed to finalise its review of the innovation patent system by late 2013 and provide the Government with a report addressing the whole of the innovation patent system. Given the upcoming election on 7 September 2013 and the possibility for a change in Government this reporting timetable may change. Aspects to be considered in the report include:

  • whether an innovation patent should be granted prior to examination
  • the circumstances under which certification of the patent is required
  • the use of divisional innovation patents
  • the remedies which apply for innovation patents (one of the key concerns is that the scope of an innovation patent can be generous given that it has a very low inventiveness threshold but the same remedies against infringement as a standard patent apply)
  • whether there has been any unintended consequences from the systems implementation

As part of its reporting process, ACIP has released an Options Paper for comment. Any party interested in providing comment on policy issues and the options outlined in Chapter 5 of the Options Paper is invited to submit comment by 4 October 2013. This Options Paper [PDF 871.2] considers the full range of possibilities from abolition of the innovation patent system to taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to see how recent legislative changes impact on the system.