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Innovation Patents Harm Small Business Innovation - Australia

16-Sep-2019 | Source : AG-IP News | Visits : 809
CANBERRA - The Government is seeking to phase out the innovation patent, as over time it has not achieved its intended objective. Economic evidence shows that the innovation patent system has a net cost of $11M per year to all Australian business, fails to incentivise research and development, and allows big business to block small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from innovating, according to the official website of Intellectual Property of Australia.

Innovation patents are used by large firms as a strategic tool to stifle competition

Big business can use innovation patents to create patent thickets. A patent thicket is where a firm files a series of innovation patents surrounding an SME’s product. These tactics suffocate an SME’s freedom to operate, making it harder for them to compete with big business. In 2017 big business and foreign applicants obtained almost 4 times the number of enforceable innovation patents than SMEs.

Low standards for innovation patents inhibit genuine innovation and competition

Low thresholds and unexamined innovation patents create uncertainty around where SMEs have freedom to operate. This is eroding confidence and investment in SME innovation.

Innovation patents put Australian innovators at risk in overseas markets

Obtaining protection through an innovation patent can backfire if a business wants to export. Innovation patents are not recognised overseas and can’t be used as a basis for foreign patents. Innovation patents disclose the SMEs’ inventions, exposing them to overseas copycats.

New and tailored SME support services

Whilst phasing out the innovation patent, the government remains committed to dedicated support services to help SMEs navigate the IP system. SMEs already prefer standard patents, and lodge more than twice as many standard patents as innovation patents. Small businesses, including those regularly using innovation patents, will receive the following dedicated support:

SME fast track

SMEs will continue to have access to IP Australia’s fast track examination pathway on request, which means SMEs who want a fast patent can get a report within eight weeks, and as fast as the current innovation patent.
SME case management

Based on successful overseas programs, dedicated IP Australia case managers will be made available to support Australian SMEs through the patent application process. This service will include support for internationally expedited applications, to help get protection in their target markets.

SME portal

Redeveloping IP Australia’s web presence to provide a purpose-built platform to support SMEs. This will offer SMEs tailored products and services, giving them access to 24/7 assistance, industry advice, an IP portfolio management tool, and information on support available from other Government departments (including Austrade). This would be integrated with business.gov.au.

SME dedicated outreach program

A growing program of SME education services for regional areas delivered through events, webinars, and via collaboration with government and multiplier networks. This will deliver patent education as well as support the diversified IP strategies required throughout the business lifecycle.
 
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