02 June 2005

The Government Responds to "Business Method" Recommendations

In September 2003, the Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP) released a report reviewing the "patenting of business methods". The report contained eleven recommendations. On 26 May 2005, the Government issued a media release in which it announced that it has accepted ten of the eleven recommendations. The Government's response includes ten of the recommendations:

1. No changes are recommended to Australian legislation regarding the issue of patentable subject matter.

2. IPAustralia should monitor the number and significance of "business system patents". The Government has mentioned that the classification system that we use does not have sufficient classifiers, making it difficult to identify and monitor such patents.

3. IPAustralia should make further use of non-patent literature during patent examination.

4. Training for patent examiners requires enhancement.

5. IPAustralia should conduct education programs for SME's in this field.

6. IPAustralia and IP Professionals should encourage media debate.

7. IPAustralia should raise public awareness of the ability of third parties to submit relevant prior art which could prevent the issuance of invalid patents.

8. IPAustralia is encouraged to make the abstracts of all Australian patents and published patent applications searchable by text and classification.

9. IPAustralia should provide a specific online search facility through the relevant "business system" class on its website.

10. IPAustralia should consider increasing response fees on examination reports for responses filed more than 12 months after the examination report.

I will be following this with interest.

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