What’s restricting Aussie innovation?

Last year, the number of patent applications in Australia fell by some way. So how do we get Aussies inventing again?

The number of patents filed in Australia has fallen in the past year, according to a new report by the government's intellectual property (IP) division.

The research showed an overall drop in standard patent applications by 13 per cent last year. There were 29,717 filed in 2013, and only 25,947 in 2014 – and this after a four-year period that saw applications increase by a huge 25 per cent.

Meanwhile, innovation patents fell by 9 per cent for the second successive year.

So, does this mean we have fewer pioneers in the country? Perhaps people are having fewer innovative ideas? Or is there something else at work?

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Science, Karen Andrews, recently praised the two-tier system for registering patents in Australia in her foreword to the 2015 report.

"Australia has a world class IP system that is consistently ranked in the top tiers across the range of global measures. A well-functioning and effective IP system is important to underpin Australia's innovation, trade and investment efforts."

So, what's the real problem?

While innovation is widely touted as the solution for all business ills, and individuals continue to push the envelope, both parties may simply be confused by the whole process. After all, there is no correlation between having a game-changing product or service and the ability to understand the often complex patenting system.

Perhaps a little clarification is in order.

Currently, there are two main forms of patents available for those seeking intellectual property protection:

  • A standard patent: which provides protection for 20 years (or 25 years for some pharmaceuticals) with approval having to go through IP Australia
  • An innovation patent: which grants exclusive rights for eight years and is considered a quicker and relatively inexpensive form of IP protection

If you have an invention and are struggling to navigate the seas of intellectual property, give us a call and we'll help you out.