A consultation paper, entitled Patentable Subject Matter: Consultation on an Object Clause and an Exclusion from Patentability [PDF, 159kB], was released on 26 July 2013, and IP Australia is inviting written submissions by 27 September 2013. While interested parties may no doubt comment on the proposals in any way they see fit, IP Australia is particularly requesting responses to three specific questions set out in the consultation paper.
The two amendments proposed in the consultation paper are to:
- add an ‘objects’ clause, to assist in the interpretation of the Patents Act; and
- introduce a new exclusion from patentability for ‘an invention the commercial exploitation of which would be wholly offensive to the ordinary reasonable and fully informed member of the Australian public’.
The Australian Government responded to all three of these reports [PDF, 145kB] in November 2011. As I wrote at the time, the government response could have been summarised as ‘not much left to do’, with IP Australia’s efforts in progressing the Raising the Bar patent reforms, and improving its own online systems, having addressed the vast majority of recommendations in the three reports. I identified only three substantive recommendations accepted by the government, and not yet implemented, including the two subject of the current consultation. The third accepted recommendation, which is to modernise the language used in the Patents Act to clarify the ‘manner of manufacture’ patentability test, appears to have been dropped into the ‘too hard’ basket for now.