Innovation and Brand Development - Are you up-to-date?

Nic Crowther
Tue 09 Jun

Intellectual property remains a fraught subject for those looking to develop new products, or protect those already in the market.

To facilitate this, IP Australia provides a generally helpful and supportive service for companies to adequately secure their products against xxx and plagiarism. However, not all companies looking to innovate are interested in engaging with the full patent protection process, given the costs and work necessary to execute such a claim. In recognition of this, IP Australia created a lower-tier of access, the Innovation Patent, to provide key protections without onerous cost or compliance requirements.

This is a relatively new initiative and its impact is currently under review. This week, IP Australia released an intriguing statement regarding the Advisory Council on Intellectual Property’s (ACIP) work in determining the effectiveness of the programme, which suggests that the strategy’s success been a bit ‘meh’. A key finding in this research paper is that Australian SMEs are less likely to use the patent system after filing an innovation patent than a company that has not previously filed an innovation patent.

To quote:

The great majority of Australian SMEs and private inventors appear to gain little benefit from the system… Only 23 SMEs have become moderate users of the innovation patent system … The average SME or private inventor files once and never again (74%), does not receive any enforceable right (83%) and lets their patent expire early because they see its value at less than the $110-$220 cost of renewal (78%).

As such it seems this system has had little effect on stimulating innovation, and has come at a net cost to IP Australia (and the taxpayer). ACIP considers it likely that the innovation patent is not achieving this objective and the Government should therefore consider abolishing the system.

Regardless, this development should not deter those currently investing in R&D from protecting their ideas. It’s always great to receive proper advice, and IP Australia will remain a great place to start.

The full review paper and statement can be read here.