Australia Considers Overhauling Patent Laws After Realizing Current System Is Harming Innovation

from the good-for-them dept

TIIP points us to the news that the Australian government is considering an overhaul of that country's patent system after being presented with research showing how much the system was actually holding back innovation in that country. Specifically, the report showed that the ease of getting a patent in Australia was leading to way too many bad patents being granted, which were then being used to stifle innovation and investment. It's always good to see at least some folks in governments around the world are finding out that "more patents" does not equal "more innovation."


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  1.  
    identicon
    J.Locke, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 12:25pm

    funny Aussies

    I remember reading a few years ago, a lawyer in Australia got a patent on the wheel, just to prove how FUBAR the system actually is.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 12:25pm

    A glorious week for IP

    This has been an amazing week, giving a sliver of hope for the future of IP law. First, the RIAA's mistrial and the removal of the "Hollywood Justice Department" provisions from the anti-counterfeiting bill. Then, next day, EU says ISPs shouldn't block file sharers and Italy has to stop blocking TPB. Now, today, this.

    It's almost good news overload. Seems too good to be true after watching everything become scarier and more draconian by the day for so long.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    NeoConBushSupporters, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 12:40pm

    the problem with veggimite eaters

    “Krikey mate” . . . Just because Australians can’t understand their patent system, doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with ours (have you seen how much beer they drink – it’s a wonder they understand anything). If they want to take a wrongheaded stand against innovation, hard work and the just rewards that come from that, that is to some extent their business (as long as they honor our system too). I fail to see what it has to do with this great nation of ours and our tried and true patent system?


    VOTE McCain 2008 - He saved the entire world economy, what more do you want?

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    David, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 1:00pm

    Maybe....

    Maybe if they get it right we can have a working model to try and build the US system from.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 1:01pm

    You really ought to read the report (that was prepared by a private organization) before making broad generalizations that can easily mislead readers as to its purpose, scope and content. Moreover, it would help if you would carefully consider if your usage of the word "innovation" is the same as that of those who prepared the report.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 1:01pm

    Re: the problem with veggimite eaters

    Vote Obama - He will save the economy by accepting every lobbying dollar and giving it back to lower class citizens as tax rebates. He truly is Robin Hood.

     

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  7.  
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    Hulser, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 1:42pm

    Re:

    You really ought to read the report (that was prepared by a private organization) before making broad generalizations that can easily mislead readers as to its purpose, scope and content.

    You really ought to support your accusations with details rather than make ambiguous negative statements.

    Moreover, it would help if you would carefully consider if your usage of the word "innovation" is the same as that of those who prepared the report.

    Moreover, it would help if you would indicate why you believed that Mike is using the word "innovation" differently that how it is in the report instead of merely implying that he did.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Re:

    Apparently you likewise have not read the report. Doing so may save you from falling prey to the generalizations made in the above article.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Hulser, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 7:51pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Why are you so reluctant to actualy give specifics on what problems you have with Mike's viewpoints? Rather than pointing someone to the original report in an attempt to guess what you mean by your vague allegations, wouldn't it be much simpler to just, oh I don't know, tell us what your thoughts are? Or is just easier to hide behind indirect attacks?

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 10:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Let me make this easy for you. Visit the following site and read the article, executive summary, various press releases, public input to the private group that prepared the report, etc.:

    http://www.innovation.gov.au/innovationreview/Pages/home.aspx

    After you have read them and assimilated their substance, you should then be readily able to understand what is meant by my reference to broad generalizations.

    By the way, the Australian Government, as you will quickly note, has taken no position on the report, though at least two of its Ministers said in press releases that a government response should be forthcoming within the next several months. Perhaps in that as yet undefined response one will learn what "overhaul", if any, may be proposed for the current state of Australia's statutory regime concerning intellectual property. From what I read as recommendations, suggested changes are almost perfunctory in nature and can hardly be characterized as an "overhaul" as that word is commonly understood and used. As I read the recommendations I was, in all candor, struck by the notion that Australia should make a limited number of structual changes so that its patent system more closely tracked US law as recently clarified in a series of CAFC and Supreme Court decisions (KSR in particular, but some others as well).

    Techdirt makes no bones about its general distaste for any form of intellectual "property". However, in no reasonable way can this report be viewed as a strong endorsement of or agreement with the views repeatedly expressed at this site.

    Techdirt does many times raise excellent points that deserve thoughful consideration. I just wish it would drop the mantra "IP BAD, NO IP GOOD", a position that in many ways takes away from the forcefulness of its arguments.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Hulser, Sep 26th, 2008 @ 11:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Let me make this easy for you. Visit the following site and read the article, executive summary, various press releases, public input to the private group that prepared the report, etc.:

    Here's how things generally work. If you make an accusation, it's quite common to actually back that accusation up with what are called "reasons". For example, if you believe that someone is making broad generalizations, it would be quite reasonable to quote the person making the "broad generalization" following by another quote that demonstrates why the generalization is overly broad. Why should anyone have to read through "the article, executive summary, various press releases, public input to the private group that prepared the report, etc." in order to decipher the justification for your criticism?

    http://www.innovation.gov.au/innovationreview/Pages/home.aspx
    After you have read them and assimilated their substance, you should then be readily able to understand what is meant by my reference to broad generalizations.


    Well, since the link you provided is broken, I guess my attemp to guess what your problem is with Mike's article will have to wait.

    Perhaps in that as yet undefined response one will learn what "overhaul", if any, may be proposed for the current state of Australia's statutory regime concerning intellectual property.

    A ha! After three different comments, we're finally provided a hint as to why you have an issue with the post. But wait...if you are saying that the use of the term overhaul is a broad generalization, shouldn't your problem be with The Australian? They're the ones who made this statement.

    "THE federal Government is considering overhauling patent laws, after a major report this week found the ease with which patents were granted in Australia was hampering innovation."

    Techdirt does many times raise excellent points that deserve thoughful consideration. I just wish it would drop the mantra "IP BAD, NO IP GOOD", a position that in many ways takes away from the forcefulness of its arguments.

    Oh man! You were doing so well, but reverted back to baseless accusations. As far as I can tell, TechDirt is critical of how IP is enforced and supports IP reform, but if you have proof that TD believes that no IP is good, then please supply a link. And here's a hint: we're going to need a little more than "read www.techdirt.com and you'll see my point".

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2008 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I tried the link in both my comment and your response. It took me right to the page without hesitation. Not sure why your clicking on it is not working.

    Re techdirts criticism of IP, it does criticize enforcement and support reform, but at the same time it makes no bones about its view that structual changes nothwithstanding, IP (particularly patents and copyrights) should be eliminated from our body of laws. This view has been stated repeatedly in numerous articles and comments, but I do not make it a habit of saving links to such articles for ready future reference. Suffice it to say that techdirt sees nothing to recommend what it terms "government granted monopolies". As long as patents and copyrights exist it takes the view that their scope should be scaled way, way back, but the position it openly advocates is that they be eliminated in their entirety. If for some reason you remain doubtful about its position on this issue, all you need to do is ask the principals at techdirt.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Hulser, Sep 27th, 2008 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    [TechDirt] makes no bones about its view that structual changes nothwithstanding, IP (particularly patents and copyrights) should be eliminated from our body of laws. This view has been stated repeatedly in numerous articles and comments, but I do not make it a habit of saving links to such articles for ready future reference.

    Frankly, I don't either, but...if I make an accusation, I have the common courtesy to actually go back and look for a quote that backs up my position. What you've done is make accusations and, when confronted with requests for support of the accusations, do one of two things...

    1) Provide a link to a site that contains hours worth of reading, thus shifting the onus on the reader to somehow guess the relevent information and how it relates to your argument.

    2) Give a rather lame excuse that you don't save links.


    If for some reason you remain doubtful about its position on this issue, all you need to do is ask the principals at techdirt.

    Once again, if you are going to make an accusation, you'll be taken much more seriously if you actually provide justification for the accusation. You are the one making the statement. Why on earth would you think it would make sense for the reader to go back and ask the party being accused for an explanation of your mischaracterization? If you're going to make a statement, then take responsibility and stand by it instead of trying to pass the buck.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2008 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It seems we differ on a fundamental point. When someone makes a statement as in the above article I take the time to follow the links, search using Google if need be to fill in the blanks, and then decide for myself the veracity of the original statement. It takes a bit of time, but I know of no other way to try and educate myself on issues. Sound bites and anecdotes are no substitute for research.

    In this matter I was able to eventually find a copy of the report and a host of related papers. They are located at the link I provided earlier. Upon reading the report I almost immediately noted that it was not a government document, but rather one prepared by a non-government panel. It disclaimed that its contents reflected the views of the government. It claimed copyright in the name of Cutler & Company Ltd., a company in which the individual presenting the report, Mr. Terry Cutler, is likely a principal (on this point I may be wrong in that I could not find a website for that company). Two Ministers of the Australian government issued press releases noting they had received the report and that a formal government response, something certainly important to ascertain if changes to law are needed, will issue in due course. I did not note any other Australian government officials also issuing press releases and expressing any views concerning the report.

    The fact Mr. Cutler is involved is of passing interest to me given that I understand him to be the head of a government agency known as CSIRO. This agency is currently involved in patent infringement litigation in the US in the matter of CSIRO v. Buffalo Technology, wherein the agency is the patentee and is asserting its US Patent against Buffalo Technology.

    In the final analysis the point I am making is that reporting something that is purely based upon hearsay, and without at least some modicum of effort to ascertain its veracity, is not something I am prepared to accept at face value.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Hulser, Sep 27th, 2008 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    When someone makes a statement as in the above article I take the time to follow the links, search using Google if need be to fill in the blanks, and then decide for myself the veracity of the original statement. It takes a bit of time, but I know of no other way to try and educate myself on issues. Sound bites and anecdotes are no substitute for research.

    Educating one's self is great, but after having gone through the effort of doing so, why would you stop just short of using that information to support your accusation? Mark Twain said, "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." The corrolary to this is that man who researches a blog post, but doesn't include any results of that research in their attack of the post is indistinguishable from the man who did no research.

    In this matter I was able to eventually find a copy of the report and a host of related papers.

    Exactly. A "host" of related papers. You seem to be saying that since you linked to site that had so much information, your point would be made for you. But in fact, the reaction would far more likely have been something like "Why is this guy linking to all of this material when he could have simply told us what what he thought was relevant?" It's like answering a kid's questions "Why is the sky blue?" by pointing to an encylopedia and saying "There's your answer."

    Upon reading the report I almost immediately noted that it was not a government document, but rather one prepared by a non-government panel. It disclaimed that its contents reflected the views of the government. It claimed copyright in the name of Cutler & Company Ltd., a company in which the individual presenting the report, Mr. Terry Cutler, is likely a principal (on this point I may be wrong in that I could not find a website for that company). Two Ministers of the Australian government issued press releases noting they had received the report and that a formal government response, something certainly important to ascertain if changes to law are needed, will issue in due course. I did not note any other Australian government officials also issuing press releases and expressing any views concerning the report.

    Was that so hard? Hopefully next time you make an accusation, you'll include information like this that goes to support your argument instead of leaving it to the reader to search through a host of documents in order to try and guess the reasoning for your argument.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2008 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Just a final note. My original comment was directed to the techdirt author of the article. Based on its contents it seemed to me that the author had not read the actual report, so what he was suggesting the report was about was unsubstantiated hearsay.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 27th, 2008 @ 6:36pm

    Re: funny Aussies

    I remember reading a few years ago, a lawyer in Australia got a patent on the wheel, just to prove how FUBAR the system actually is.

    As happens on the Internet, the story gets modified in the telling. What the person got is called an Innovation Patent. It's essentially a cheaper form patent which doesn't go through the normal examination process. The catch is that it's not legally enforcable until it is a examined, which costs more money.

    Unfortunately, patents are a reality for small businesses. Given that you're typically not sued until you have deep pockets (you can always tell when a company is bought by Google, because they're usually sued straight away), this is a cost-effective stopgap measure until such time as patents are reformed to be sane.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2008 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re: funny Aussies

    Here is a summary of this "patent":

    http://www.ipmenu.com/archive/AUI_2001100012.pdf

    I put "patent" in quotes because it is abundantly clear that what Australia defines as an "innovation patent" bears virtually no relationship to any instrument enforceable at law.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    brook, Nov 13th, 2008 @ 11:25am

    Australia is named for law and order. they follow rules and regulations very strictly. they are very popular in new innovations.

    ===========

    Brook

    dating

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Elly Benseman, May 13th, 2009 @ 2:25am

    patents and copyrights

    I am one person who is dead against patents and copy rights.

    my quote is:

    'If innovation is stifled by greed (patents & copyrights) where does that leave our future genuises.

    artistic ability that has just been squashed by Australian copyright laws.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Elly Benseman, May 13th, 2009 @ 2:27am

    patents and copyrights

    I am one person who is dead against patents and copy rights.

    my quote is:

    'If innovation is stifled by greed (patents & copyrights) where does that leave our future genuises.

    artistic ability that has just been squashed by Australian copyright laws.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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