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New IP legislation will encourage medical research

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Media Release

New legislation overhauling Australia’s patent system will encourage medical research and bring Australia into line with intellectual property systems in other OECD countries Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said today.

The Raising the Bar Bill, which was finally passed in Federal Parliament last night, introduces a “research use exemption” which will allow scientists to conduct research on patented inventions without infringing those patents.

“This Bill makes it absolutely clear that scientists are free to conduct research on patented inventions, so long as the purpose of that research is investigation and not the infringement of valid patents,” Dr Shaw said.

“It serves to allay concerns that patents can potentially stifle scientific research.

“The Bill also raises the threshold of patentability for all fields of technology, ensuring that Australian patents can stand up to scrutiny in any jurisdiction around the world.

“Robust IP laws that encourage the development of new technologies are extremely important to innovative industries such as the Australian medicines industry.

“The improved clarity in awarding a patent will also help to resolve the uncertainty associated with patenting of biologic materials, achieving a balance between incentives for innovation and ensuring community access to technologies.

“A strong IP system is critically important to Australia because intellectual property drives innovation. This Bill delivers that.

“These reforms have been a long time coming and it is encouraging to see the Bill finally passed by the Parliament after a number of years of review, consultation, development and debate on the provisions to reform the patent system.

“Four Government inquiries over the last decade, including two by the Australian Senate, have grappled with the question of reform to Australia’s intellectual property system.

“I commend all sides of politics for pursuing those important reforms and delivering an outcome that will benefit innovators, research scientists and ultimately the community.”


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