Australia’s powerful patent trolls are gearing up for a battle to protect their intellectual property.
Australian patent troll IP Australia will be pushing for the end of compulsory licences, a move that has seen the Australian Government spend millions of dollars to fight a legal battle to stop a range of patents being used on mobile phones.
The company, which has an annual turnover of $1 billion, has been targeting Australia’s most valuable patents since 2014, when the US Federal Trade Commission accused it of violating a federal law that requires it to obtain approval before using the technology for products.
Australia has a number of patents, many of which are patented under the International Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) and the Australian Intellectual Property Council (AICC).
It has been trying to keep the industry under lock and key, but it has been hampered by a lack of transparency.
In October last year, a federal court ruled against Australia, saying the country had breached its obligation to obtain the necessary approvals.
“The Australian Government has failed to adequately protect intellectual property rights in this country, including by preventing compulsory licences and requiring the licensing of new products,” the court found.
“It has also failed to sufficiently protect the interests of Australians in the creation and distribution of new technologies, as well as the interests in and protection of the intellectual property owned by others.”
Australia has spent more than $2.6 billion on legal action against IP Australia in recent years, with the most recent action involving the sale of patents to a Canadian company in October.
The case against IPAustralia, however, was settled out of court last week.
In a statement, AICC chief executive, Dr Steven Jardine, said the group “appreciates the Government’s decision to protect intellectual properties in this nation”.
“However, we are disappointed that IP Australia has chosen to pursue its legal challenge to the compulsory licences.
It is disappointing that the Australian government has chosen not to pursue these actions through the courts.”
In the case against AICL, Dr Jardines said that it was not the end for the Australian patent troll, but for a range other actions.
“We welcome the conclusion that the compulsory licence provision is unconstitutional and unlawful, and that we will continue to pursue legal action in the courts to defend the compulsory licensing provisions,” he said.
“However we are not satisfied that the relevant decisions of the Supreme Court of Australia, the High Court of New South Wales and the Federal Court of Australian jurisdiction have been adequately addressed by AICAustralia.”
If the Government is unable to protect the rights of the community, then we would expect that it would work with the community to address the harms that have been caused by the compulsory licenses.
“The Federal Government is also considering changes to the law, such as allowing more companies to register and pursue legal cases.
Australia’s Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, said in October that the Government would review compulsory licences on a case-by-case basis.