Intellectual Property (IP) is a crucial driver of creativity and innovation. Various forms of IP, including trade marks, copyright, designs, and patents, are valuable business tools that create significant commercial value for government agencies that use or manage these IP every day. Our upcoming NSW Government lawyers CLE seminar series will focus on the business of innovation, exploring the implications for IP and looking ahead to the future.

Recently, the High Court judgment of Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Patents [2022] HCA 29 looked at whether a claimed invention that utilises computer software or hardware will be patentable under the Australian Patents Act. The Australian High Court rarely decides IP disputes. The judgement was split 3:3. Patentees of inventions involving the use of computer software or hardware should review their patent rights, which could now be vulnerable to a registrability attack.

Recent discussions have also led to the debate on whether AI can form original works or be registered as the true inventor. Blockchain technology, NFTs, and the 'Metaverse"' have significantly changed the digital landscape and raised issues around authorship, originality, and ownership in IP. Intellectual property is constantly evolving, and government agencies should be aware of the risks in dealing with these assets.

The latest IP trends illustrate how Australians have adapted to the change in our social and work environment during COVID-19. Demand has surged in pharmaceuticals patent filings, given the need for novel vaccines and treatments, and computer and audio-visual technology as the economy has moved to a virtual model.

The financial services markets are increasingly looking to digitise money and currency flows, and deep questions remain on how this will affect the lives and society as a whole. Trade mark and design filings have grown for products that households invest in when upgrading their homes to create comfortable living and work spaces.

For Australia to sustain its positive economic momentum, Australians need to realise their innovation potential. Evidence shows that IP activity is a significant indicator of employment growth for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In 2022, the IP system underwent significant reform to make the IP ecosystem more accessible for different users, increase recognition of indigenous IP rights, and further encourage SMEs to participate in the IP system.

While there appears to be a downward trend in copyright infringement disputes and infringement of copyright content online, there continues to be infringements of trade marks, designs, and patents. The use of IP online continues to attract legal and reputational risk and it is vitally important for government agencies to be vigilant in monitoring the online space for IP infringement.

Our March 2023 CLE session, ' Mastering intellectual property and online brand risks', will highlight online IP risks, discuss IP cases and decisions, summarise recent IP system reforms, and examine some trends in IP creation, innovation pathways and their benefits. Join our in-depth discussion by registering here.

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.