Significant changes ahead for Australian intellectual property laws


The Government has announced the release of its response to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into intellectual property arrangements in Australia.

Key Points

The Government has agreed to:

  • Amend the inventive step threshold for patents to reflect that of the European Patent Office;
  • Phase out the innovation patent system;
  • Introduce an objects clause into the Patents Act;
  • Reduce the period that must elapse before a trade mark can be challenged for non-use;
  • Improve the availability of parallel importation for trade marked goods; and
  • Increase the scope of essentially derived variety declarations for plant breeder’s rights.

Notably, the Government has no plans to proceed with the controversial recommendation by the Productivity Commission to restrict patent term extensions for pharmaceutical patents.

Moving forward, IP Australia plans to release public consultation papers in relation to a number of the proposed changes, in particular inventive step reform, introduction of an objects clause in the Patents Act and the draft legislation on the phasing out the innovation patent system.


The proposed amendments set out in the Government’s response no doubt are intended to strengthen Australia’s innovation policy. Previously, however, we have reported here that a number of the Productivity Commission’s recommendations will potentially strike a blow against innovators. Accordingly, Spruson & Ferguson will review the Government’s response and, if necessary, prepare submissions as part of the public consultation process.

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