07 August 2011

Same Blog, New Look!

Funny how things do not always work out the way you imagine…

When we started this blog just over a year ago, our vague idea was to write thoughts and commentary on patent law, practice and related issues such as innovation, research, government policy, and so forth. 

It was – and remains – a core objective of the Patentology blog to maintain an emphasis on Australia and New Zealand.  This does not mean that articles are limited to happenings in these countries, because obviously events elsewhere can have an impact on local inventors, innovators, businesses and patent professionals.  But the last thing the world needs is another blog (or ‘blawg’) dissecting every decision of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit!

With this fairly narrow brief – two countries with a combined population of under 30 million, and not aiming to cover IP issues beyond patents – we imagined that it would be fairly easy to keep up-to-date with relevant events.  In fact, we thought that there would be plenty of time and space for articles containing our general musings on the history and philosophy of patent laws and innovation policy.  And that is why we chose a design for the blog which, we hoped, would evoke a sense of the long history of the international patent system, from 1474 when the world’s first formal patent statute was enacted in Venice, through the UK Statute of Monopolies in 1623 (which still provides the touchstone of patentability in Australia and New Zealand), the first US patent act of 1790, and so on up until the present day.

Oh, how wrong we were!

Not only have we failed to muse on the deeper and more esoteric questions underlying the patent system, we have, at times, barely been able to keep up with what is happening right now, even staying with the fairly narrow remit that we set for Patentology.

Since our first post in June 2010 we have:
  1. reported more than 30 decision of the Federal Court of Australia, 40 decisions of the Australian Patent Office, seven decisions of the New Zealand courts and Patent Office, along with a handful of cases from the US, UK and Canada;
  2. followed the ‘gene patents’ debate in Australia, through the media, the web and the parliament;
  3. been surprised by the sudden decision in New Zealand to add an exclusion from patentability for computer programs in it draft patents legislation, after ten years of consultation during which the issue never previously arose;
  4. followed IP Australia’s reform agenda, from changes in Patent Office practice, plans to move to a single examination process for Australia and New Zealand, proposals for a single regulatory system for the patent profession in the two countries, all the way through to the introduction of reforming legislation in the Australian Senate;
  5. watched the US patent reform process with interest, as the prospect of a change from ‘first-to-invent’ to ‘first-inventor-to-file’ becomes increasingly realistic; and
  6. seen patents again in the mainstream media, and drawing wide interest (both positive and negative) in the IT industry, with Oracle suing Google, and seemingly every smartphone manufacturer suing every other manufacturer, including Apple going after Samsung right here in Australia.
So, Patentology has not turned out to be the comfy fireside leather armchair of analysis that we had imagined.  Instead, we have been desperately trying to keep up with everything that is happening out on the front lines of legal and technological change.  It has been fascinating, and great fun.  It has also been hard work at times. 

But what it has most definitely not been is gentle musing over yellowing papyrus!  So the ‘old’ Patentology is gone, preserved for posterity only in the image below, and replaced with a shiny new look of brushed and embossed metal, which we hope will be tough enough to survive whatever unexpected developments the next year throws our way!

Farewell, old friend!


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The Patentology Blog by Dr Mark A Summerfield is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia License.