We are now just a little over six weeks away from the final day that applications for new innovation patents can be filed. After 25 August 2021, it will no longer be possible to file applications for new innovation patents in Australia. Existing IP rights holders who have already filed for an innovation patent, or who have filed some other form of complete application, will continue to enjoy the benefit of the current innovation patent system.
The innovation patent system was originally introduced to facilitate and improve protection for inventions developed by small to medium enterprises in Australia and, in our experience, our clients, many of whom are SMEs, have used the innovation patent system to great effect and success. We have found that the innovation patent is a particularly useful tool in enforcement of patent rights against infringers. Unfortunately, the Productivity Commission took the view that the use of the innovation patent system by Australian SMEs was insufficient when weighed against the alleged exploitation of the system by larger, overseas applicants and patentees.
The Federal Government has undertaken a review of the patent system in Australia with a view to understanding and improving the patent system for Australian SMEs. This review and the recommendations made, appear to relate primarily to improving public education and engagement with IP to help SMEs better utilise the systems currently available.
As the deadline for filing applications for new innovation patents edges closer, we are strongly encouraging patentees and inventors to review their IP portfolios and consider applying for an innovation patent before the opportunity is lost.