Scientists in Australia no longer need to fear being sued for patent infringement for the research work that they do as a result of a change to the country’s IP laws.
Australia’s IP reform act, known as Raising the Bar, became law on April 15. While most of the provisions come into effect on April 15 next year, the provision exempting researchers and regulatory uses from patent infringement liability became effective immediately.
IP Australia said the provision allows researchers “to conduct genuine scientific inquiry without worrying about patent infringement”. The exemption also protects researchers working to improve a patented invention.
"This is a significant development for Australian researchers as they now have clarity around their ability to conduct research without the threat of patent infringement”, said Mark Dreyfus, Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Innovation in a statement.
This exemption allows researchers to conduct research relating to an invention’s subject matter, including research to determine the properties of an invention; improve or modify an invention; investigate the validity and scope of a patent; and examine whether a patent would be or has been infringed.
The exemption does not apply to market research or research where the main purpose is to commercialise the patented invention. However, experiments to gain knowledge or improve a patented invention, even if the researcher is considering commercialising the improvement, are still exempt.
For detailed analysis of the Raising the Bar bill, click here.