Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Australian Govt likes ADR mechanisms for IP disputes

In a press release last week, the Australian Government released its response to a report by the Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP).  In 2006 it asked ACIP to “inquire and report on issues relating to post-grant patent enforcement strategies to benefit the Australian economy by assisting patentees to effectively enforce their patent rights”.  The Minister released the final ACIP report titled “Post-Grant Patent Enforcement Strategies” on 19 February 2010.

The Government likes the idea of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms.  But it thinks someone else should run them.  It will provide a list of ADR providers who know what an intellectual property right is.

It was felt that ADR mechanisms can provide significantly quicker and cheaper avenues for enforcing patent rights.  However, the Government considers that it is not appropriate for IP Australia, as a regulatory agency, to provide post-grant mediation services.

The Government pointed to established organisations such as the LEADR, the Association of Dispute Resolvers, and the National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council.  IP Australia will compile a list of ADR organisations with expertise in intellectual property rights.

In addition to a list of ADR organisations, IP Australia will also provide:

  • scope of protection provided by different IP rights
  • role of IP rights owners, attorneys and IP lawyers
  • court processes
  • typical costs
  • potential outcomes.

The Government rejects ACIPs recommendations to establish a formal structure such as an IP Dispute Resolution Centre incorporating a Patent Tribunal.  The range of effective measures promised in the press release appear to be limited to better marketing of existing ADR mechanisms.


  1. If you own a patent, but you do not use the patented invention in a product or service, you are still entitled to enforce your patent. You are known in the world of patents and patent enforcement as a "non-practicing entity" or "NPE" -- or more rudely put, a "patent troll."

  2. Not quite sure how the comment earlier relates to ADR mechanisms for significantly quicker and cheaper avenues for enforcing patent rights. The ADR mechanisms, if implemented, will be available to everyone, whatever names they might be called.


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