At a glance
Policy ID: 8
Under s 50 of the Patents Act, the Commissioner has the power to reject an application the use of which would be contrary to law, or if the invention is a mere mixture for use as a food or medicine, or if the claim includes the name of a person.
In its 2010 report on patentable subject matter, the former Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP) considered that these provisions were not necessary (paragraph (1)(a) would be redundant if a morality clause were to be introduced). ACIP recommended repeal of s 50. The government accepted this recommendation in its response of 23 November 2011.
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.