20 April 2011

Patentology Newsbytes

A semi-regular round-up of breaking news, current events and comments too trivial to warrant their own posts.


Two-Millionth PCT Application Filed – Australian Citizen? Be a Patent Examiner! – ‘Inventive but not Novel’ Decision Appealed by AMR – Easter and ANZAC Day Holidays, Closures and Deadlines


On 14 April 2010, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) announced that the two-millionth International Application has been filed, under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

It took 26 years for the number of PCT applications filed to reach the one-million mark, but only a further six year to double this!  WIPO attributes this growth to ‘continuously increasing investments in innovation’ and ‘growth in PCT membership’, which has resulted in most countries now being accessible via the PCT system.

Details of the milestone application are not available, because it remains unpublished at this time.  However, it has been revealed that the applicant is Qualcomm.  The US-based company was founded in 1985 by by UC San Diego Professor Irwin Jacobs, USC Alumni Andrew Viterbi, and five others.  It now holds patents on many of the wireless technologies that are at the heart of mobile voice, data and Internet services.  In 1995 Qualcomm filed 37 application under the PCT.  In 2010 it was the third largest PCT filer with 1677 applications!

We note that Qualcomm was also the fourth highest recipient of Australian patents granted in 2010 (see Microsoft Tops Australian Patent Grants for 2010), and placed 41st in the equivalent US list.



IP Australia is recruiting again.  This time they are looking for Patent Examiners in the Medical Devices, Physics, Chemical Engineering and Pharmacology/Pharmaceutical technology areas.

If you want to apply for one of these jobs, however, you will need to be an Australia citizen (except for the Medical Devices positions, for which permanent residency is sufficient).  As a former non-citizen, we are curious about this restriction.  Perhaps security clearance is required?  If you know anything about this, please do drop us a line, either via email, or via the ‘Ask Patentology’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Applications should be submitted via the IP Australia online recruitment system up until 11:30pm AEST on Sunday 1 May 2011.  The positions are also being advertised in The Canberra Times, The Weekend Australian and on the SEEK jobs website.

Further information is available on the IP Australia website.



A few weeks back, we reported the slightly strange case of Albany Molecular Research Inc v Alphapharm Pty Ltd [2011] FCA 120, in which claims in a patent owned by Albany Molecular Research (AMR) – directed to an anti-histamine drug known by the non-proprietary name of fexofenadine – were found to be lacking in novelty, and yet to involve an inventive step.

At the time, we commented that the judge (Justice Jessup) appeared to have written his decision in the case with a view to an appeal by AMR on the novelty finding.  In 23 March 2011, Justice Jessup issued his final orders in the case (Albany Molecular Research Inc v Arrow Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd [2011] FCA 252), allowing a stay of 28 days on the order for revocation of claims 1, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of AMR’s patent to allow time for an appeal to be filed.

It is therefore an unsurprising development that AMR has indeed appealed the decision, on 13 April 2011.  The file number for the case is VID279/2011.

This will be an interesting case to watch, because the Full Bench of the Federal Court of Australia will be required to resolve two separate lines of authority, as to whether an ‘enabling disclosure’ is required for anticipation of a claim directed to a chemical compound, or whether mere naming of the exact compound in the prior art is sufficient.



Finally, we take this opportunity to remind overseas readers in particular that this year the ANZAC day public holiday in Australia coincides with Easter Monday.  As a result, many businesses (including patent attorney firms) and government authorities (including IP Australia) will be closed not only on Good Friday and Easter Monday, but also on Tuesday 26 April 2011, which is a public holiday in Australia in lieu of the ‘real’ ANZAC day.

As usual, any Australian deadlines falling within the period between 22 April and 26 April will be automatically extended to the next working day, i.e. 27 April.

New Zealand also commemorates ANZAC day, however our Kiwi friends do not enjoy the benefit of an additional day due to the coincidence with Easter Monday.  The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) will therefore be back to work on 26 April 2011, and any deadlines falling over the Easter long weekend will be extended only until this date.  This is perhaps something for our Australian readers in particular to watch out for!


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