Patent applications and associated documents are published to ensure that the public is able to benefit from the knowledge of an invention. However, when patent applications contain sensitive information, such as commercial or personal information, which is not necessary to the understanding of the invention, publication is not appropriate.
In 2016, the PCT and Patent Regulations were amended to allow IP Australia and WIPO to omit sensitive information from publication for PCT applications and instead allow publication of redacted versions.
For standard and innovation patent applications or related documents, the Commissioner utilises the power under regulation 4.5 to publish redacted versions of documents. However, this regulation refers to ‘documents’ rather than ‘information’. Amendments to the Patents Act to give the Commissioner clear power not to publish certain information within a document will reduce uncertainty and ensure that sensitive information is not published.
Consultation 23-Jul-2018 to 31-Aug-2018
IP Australia is currently consulting on exposure draft legislation with the intention of introducing final legislation to Parliament in late 2018 or early 2019.