Last month the Australian Government’s Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP) released an ‘Options Paper’ in its ongoing review of the innovation patent system. The options presented in the paper are threefold: do nothing; modify the innovation patent system in some as-yet unspecified way; or abolish the innovation patent system entirely. I think that pretty much covers the full gamut of possibilities, and ACIP is now going back to the public seeking further input.
I have written about this review before, most recently in relation to IP Australia’s ‘Raising the Step’ proposal, in September 2012, to completely eliminate the distinction in inventive threshold between standard patents and innovation patents, such that an ‘invention’ and an ‘innovation’ would be required to meet exactly the same inventive step threshold. As I wrote at the time, IP Australia’s publication of its consultation paper – which arrived complete with drafting instructions for the proposed amendments to the Patents Act 1990 – appeared to completely pre-empt ACIP’s review.
Submissions were due by 25 October 2012, in response to IP Australia’s consultation. I made a submission, although it appears to have gone astray, since my name is not included among the list of submissions on page 46 of the ACIP Options Paper. While I expected that the submissions would be published, and some further proposals or conclusions put forward by IP Australia, on the contrary the consultation seemed to disappear without trace. In fact, ACIP’s Options Paper reveals that the submissions to IP Australia were passed on for consideration in the course of its ongoing review.