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Australia ponders patent refresh to restrain trolls

The Register - Simple 'innovation patents' likely to get tougher regs to stop holders blocking rivals.

Australia’s patent system will be overhauled to make life harder for cynical abusers of the patent process.

The review will focus on 'innovation patents', a type of patent introduced in 2001 to encourage IP protection for SMEs and function to protect “simple inventions and improvements to existing technologies”. Such patents last just eight years, compared to the 20 years for conventional patents in Australia. Winning an innovation patents requires only the demonstration of an “innovative step” rather than the standard patent’s “inventive step”.

The Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP) has issued a call for public comment on changes to the innovation patent system in light of changes to the market and an unusually high growth of patents applications for certain technologies within IT, electronics and pharmaceutical sectors.

ACIP is also currently holding a comprehensive review on the innovation patent system in Australia.