By Eliza Jane Saunders*
This article considers the reliability of information sourced through the internet and looks at how some of the major patent offices around the world use information disclosed on the World Wide Web (WWW) as a source of prior art information in the examination of patent applications. The article then considers whether the use of the WWW as a source of prior art information for patent applications, particularly the use of “defensive publishing” as an intellectual property protection strategy, is disrupting the foundation and rationale for the patent system of disclosure in return for a granted patent right. What benefit has the patent system if innovation can arguably be stimulated more quickly through disclosure on the WWW at no cost to users? It is concluded that the fundamental patent law principles of sufficiency of disclosure, as well as enabling disclosure and “ascertainment” (in the assessment of novelty and inventive step under Australian patent law), will ensure that patent law maintains a hold over innovation in today’s society.
The full article can be accessed here: “Is the accessibility of information on the WWW disrupting the foundation and rationale of the patent system of disclosure in exchange for grant of a patent?” (2010) 21 AIPJ 17.
*Associate Lawyer, Patent and Trade Mark Attorney, Griffith Hack.