Amend the level of inventive step

At a glance

Policy ID: 11

Status: Policy development

Priority: Medium

Patents Productivity commission

Issue summary

The Productivity Commission (PC) in its 2016 inquiry into Australia's IP arrangements considered that the standard of inventive step in Australia is too low, and this has costs on the wider economy as a result of granting exclusive rights to inventions of low quality or social value. The PC recommended that the level of inventive step in Australia be raised to be equivalent to the highest level in larger markets for technology. The PC considered that the European standard was the most appropriate, and that the Australian test should be amended to more closely match Europe. The government accepted the recommendation.


  • Consultation 30 August 2017 to 17 November 2017
  • Policy development 20 November 2017
  • Legislative drafting 26 March 2018
  • Consultation 23 July 2018 to 31 August 2018
  • Policy development 1 September 2018
  • Priority reviewed August 2020


The Government has accepted the PC's recommendation to raise the threshold for inventive step, but decided to remove this measure from the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission Response Part 2 and Other Measures) Bill 2018. The Government has decided to undertake further analysis and consultation with stakeholders before amending the inventive step requirements.

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