Exclude inventions that are wholly offensive to the public from patentable subject matter

At a glance

Policy ID: 5

Status: Closed

Priority: Low

Patents ACIP

Issue summary

In its 2010 report on patentable subject matter, the former Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP) considered that there was a problem in that the technology neutral aspect of the 'manner-of-manufacture' test for patentability could result in the patenting of subject matter that could be undesirable or offensive to the public.

ACIP wished to ensure that patent legislation is able to address such situations. It recommended that the Patents Act be amended so as to exclude from patentability an invention for which the commercial exploitation would be wholly offensive to the ordinary, reasonable, and fully informed member of the Australian public.


Public consultation took place on this issue in 2013. Due to a lack of stakeholder support, this issue has been placed on hold, and may be considered further in future if circumstances change.

The High Court and Federal Court of Australia has issued several rulings that clarify the boundaries of patentable subject matter in Australia. At present there appears to be no need for further reform.

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