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.