Australia may soon make it tougher to secure patents

Obtaining a patent is a fundamental part of getting a business off the ground in Australia. But what if that process becomes harder to execute? It may soon.

Getting a patent is often integral to starting a new business. Without protecting your intellectual property, it's hard to make a profit – you'll constantly have to worry about other businesses infringing on your market share by selling similar products.

There is concern in Australia today that the patenting process may soon become more difficult.

Unfortunately, there is concern in Australia today that the patenting process may soon become more difficult. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's administration is making noise about raising the standards for a new product to be considered patent-worthy. If this happens, there will soon be a new layer of red tape for aspiring entrepreneurs in Australia to get through.

Turnbull government getting tough on patents

Traditionally, patent registration in Australia has been relatively straightforward. Anyone with a reasonable claim to protect their intellectual property has been able to do so. However, this may soon change. Bloomberg reported that the Turnbull government is seeking more stringent rules surrounding the "inventiveness" required for a product to get a patent. Australia may soon take after Europe's and the United States' standard, which requires that an idea for a new product be "not obvious."

"As it currently stands, the inventive step bar isn't as high in Australia as it is at the European Patent Office," patent attorney Simon Potter told Bloomberg BNA.

Australia has enacted tougher IP laws before, most recently in 2013, but more changes may still be coming.

Fighting for your IP rights

If the Turnbull government has its way, we will soon see a more contentious intellectual property law climate in Australia. There will be more disagreements over what can be patented and what can't, and competing businesses may find themselves frequently at odds.

The latest out of Canberra is patent law changes may be on the horizon.The latest out of Canberra is patent law changes may be on the horizon.

IP Australia points out that the country already has a framework in place for companies to file notices of opposition, stating their disagreement with a proposed patent. This may be an option that more companies choose moving forward. Entering into these legal fights can be expensive and time-consuming, though. It's best to speak with a lawyer first.

Finding legal experts to guide you forward

To run a successful business in Australia, you'll need to protect your intellectual property whenever you can. For guidance on when exactly that is, you'll want to ask the professionals.

Luckily, Alder IP has a team of expert patent lawyers in Sydney who are happy to help you figure these things out. If you have any questions about your intellectual property portfolio or how to manage it, just pick up the phone and ask.