Federal government launches review into patents system to support SMEs

The federal government has announced a review into Australia’s patents system to support innovation in small-to-medium-sized businesses.

The review will consider the accessibility for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as part of the government’s commitment to ensuring our intellectual property framework supports the needs of smaller businesses.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the review was part of a suite of initiatives the government will roll out over the coming months to improve Australia’s intellectual property system.

Measures include an SME case management service, the SME fast track service, a dedicated outreach program and an online portal.

“The aim of this review is to make sure our patents system best supports the needs of SMEs, so Australian businesses can protect their inventions and operate with confidence in Australian markets and abroad,” Andrews said.

“This review is part of the government’s commitment to backing Australian innovation – by ensuring smaller businesses don’t face undue barriers or unreasonable costs when navigating our intellectual property system.”

Emeritus Professor Raoul Mortley AO will lead the review with support from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Professor Mortley brings experience from academia and business, including as Chair of the Professional Standards Board for Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys, Chair of the Vice Chancellors’ Intellectual Property Committee, and as a board member of Innovation and Science Australia.

“It is critical that Australia’s patent system best enables our innovative SMEs to protect their great ideas, and I look forward to Professor Mortley’s findings,” Andrews said.

The review is required by the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission Response Part 2 and Other Measures) Act 2020, which was introduced by the Government and received Royal Assent in February 2020.

The review welcomes submissions from SMEs who use or are considering using the patent system in Australia and overseas, interested stakeholders and members of the public.

The review will commence in the coming months and run for six months, with the final report being delivered to government by May 2021.

More information about the review will be available on the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources website when it commences.

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