05 January 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Australian patent system grants exclusivity ‘too readily’

The Australian patent system grants exclusivity too readily, according to a final report from the government’s productivity commission.

The report, which was sent to the government in September last year but was recently released to the public, argues that improvement is needed across the “spectrum of IP rights”.

The Australian government tasked the productivity commission in 2015 with assessing whether the country’s IP system sufficiently incentivises innovation. A preliminary report was issued in May last year.

On patents the commission argued that Australia’s current patent system gives too much leeway to low-quality patents, which is “frustrating follow-on innovators and stymieing competition”.

The Australian government should introduce a “package of reforms” that will “collectively improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the patent system”.

As part of the package, and to raise patent quality, the commission said the government should “increase the degree of invention required to receive a patent, abolish the failed innovation patent, reconfigure costly extensions of term for pharmaceutical patents, and better structure patent fees”.

The commission said that this, along with incorporating an objects clause into the Patents Act, will ensure a higher quality of patents and a better patent system overall.

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