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New patent to protect Australian innovations.

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Warren Entsch, MP

Parliamentary Secretary to the

Minister for Industry, Science and Resources


26 April 2001                                                             01/159

NEW PATENT to PROTECT AUSTRALIAN INNOVATIONS World Intellectual Property Day provided a fitting backdrop today for the public launch of the innovation patent system; a new type of patent designed to help Australian industry protect their important innovations.

The new patent was launched today at the Queensland Sciencentre in Brisbane by

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Mr Warren Entsch, IP Australia’s Commissioner of Patents, Dr Vivienne Thom and President of the Institute of Patent and Trade Marks Attorneys, Mr Douglas Carter.

Designed to provide a patent right which is relatively inexpensive, quick and easy to obtain, the innovation patent is the result of extensive research into the needs of Australia’s business community for a low cost entry point into the intellectual property system.

Mr Entsch said the innovation patent would complement the important role that small to medium sized enterprises play in maintaining Australia’s position as a leading innovator in the international marketplace. In particular, he pointed to the lower inventive threshold requirement for innovation patents as being particularly useful to these enterprises.

“Australia’s current intellectual property system may not provide effective or accessible intellectual property rights for those innovations typically developed by small to medium businesses,” Mr Entsch said.

“Many small to medium enterprises invest considerable amounts of time and money in developing and testing new products and improvements that, while not vastly different from existing technologies, still have significant commercial value.

“The Government recognised that some form of protection was needed so businesses could confidently commercialise their incremental ideas and invest in further research and development.

“The innovation patent has been developed specifically to address the need to protect these types of innovations as it will require a lower inventive threshold than is currently required for a standard patent,” Mr Entsch said.

Dr Thom said the new innovation patent system brings Australia in line with other developed countries with two-tiered patent systems such as Japan, Germany and Korea. She said it provides significant improvements on the petty patent system it replaces.

“Unlike the previous petty patent system, the new system will provide a longer period of protection—eight years as opposed to six,” Dr Thom said. “It provides for more claims in the specification with up to five being allowed as opposed to three with the petty patent.”

IP Australia, which administers Australia’s patents, trade marks and designs systems, has recognised the changing needs of Australian business and has developed a new

e-business centre to process on-line applications and payments for innovation patents.

Dr Thom said that the new system will enable IP Australia to process applications more quickly than current hard copy applications. She said it will also enable customers to receive information about their applications faster.

“It’s IP Australia’s intention that customers will be able to apply for standard patents

on-line by the end of 2001, with all other rights administered by IP Australia available by 2002,” Dr Thom said.

Mr Carter said he saw the innovation patent system as being a useful tool to industry in certain circumstances.

“The innovation patent will definitely have its uses for protecting small advances to technology and when a product has a short shelf life,” Mr Carter said. “Patent attorneys will be able to recommend it to businesses in these circumstances and recommend the standard patent to protect more traditional inventions.”

The innovation patent will be available to the public from 24 May 2001 and IP Australia has produced an Innovation Patents Kit which provides detailed information about the new patent and how to apply.

To find out more about the innovation patent or to order a copy of the kit, call  

1300 651 010 or visit IP Australia’s website at

Contacts: Greg Doolan, Mr Entsch’s Office: 02 6277 4656 or 0418 213 243

Matthew Forno, IP Australia: 02 6283 2803 or 0414 374 532


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