Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 12 August 2004
Page: 26425


Senator HILL (Minister for Defence) (10:19 PM) —I thought I had addressed these issues in response to questions raised by Senator Lundy. We talked about the issue of patenting software and the differences between the US patenting system and the Australian patenting system. Basically, I said my advice is that the free trade agreement will not have an effect on Australia's current approach and treatment of applications to patent computer software. Consequently, this will not affect the take-up and spread of open source software.

Computer software is already patentable in Australia if it meets the patentability criteria of being `new', `inventive', `a manner of manufacture' and `useful'.

Basically, it is business as usual for IP Australia in processing patents. I think that the fears that have been expressed are largely unfounded, although I understand that there is always a clash of commercial interests. I understand why Senator Greig is interested at least in seeing that the open source software industry gets a fair go. He would probably also argue, I would hope, that those who invest heavily in something that is patentable receive adequate protection for their investment as well. That is a clash of interests that we always find in a debate on intellectual property. The fears that are being expressed—fears relating to a concern of a translation of US patent law to Australia—are, as I said, on my advice, unfounded as the Australian patent law is not significantly affected by the agreement or the implementation law, even if some of the concepts are incorporated within the agreement.