26 March 2013 2013 Intellectual Property and Technology Outlook


In Brief

Technology continues to evolve rapidly and create challenges. The role of intellectual property for businesses is now being recognised as a critical role in promoting innovation and maintaining their competitive edge.

2012 was a busy year for both of these areas and 2013 is set to be just as busy and even more challenging! Here is a snapshot of some of the things we have to look forward to and their impact – on everything from the way we work to managing the supply chain.


The 'raising the bar' amendments to Australia's IP legislation will have some significant impacts on IP registration processes, especially for patent applicants, including more stringent requirements in their applications from 15 April 2013, including:

  • Applications need to disclose specific, substantial, credible use.
  • Applications need to be sufficient – i.e. provide complete information to a person skilled in the art.
  • Applications need to specify supporting bases for claims.
  • Changes to the assessment of 'inventive step'.
  • Changes to examination and prosecution timeframes.
Technology and the workplace

As social media becomes more and more prevalent in people's lives and technology is in everyone's hands and facilitates mobility and operating remotely, workplaces need to be equipped to deal with the risks and benefits of technology and social media in the workplace – think LinkedIn and employees changing jobs, BYO devices and how they fit with privacy, confidentiality, IP, privilege and records retention obligations and the like.

Privacy and Data Protection

Over the next 12 months or so, Australia's privacy laws will undergo major changes, in particular the implementation of one set of privacy principles for all organisations, new credit reporting principles and implications for organisations that store and process information off-shore or in the cloud.

Big Data

Big Data is the big buzz-term this year. Data harvesting represents an amazing tool that more and more businesses are using to try to manage the ever-growing volume of intra- and extra-organisational data to improve efficiencies in their operations and supply chains. But are big data technologies putting your IP, data and personal information at risk?

Convergence, law reform and review by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) – Copyright and the digital economy.

The ALRC faces head-on some of the big challenges that digital media and the Web pose for copyright - caching, indexing, data mining, social media, transformative applications, statutory licences and fair use are all in the mix.

3-D Printing

A new technology has entered the business landscape, 3-D scanning and printing, an increasingly popular means of reproducing a variety of products. As the availability and ease of 3-D printing technology increases, and the price drops, adoption of this new technology will rise significantly. The ability for someone to easily, quickly and cheaply make an identical or near identical replica of any object has significant ramifications for all manufacturers and IP rights owners.  In particular for those involved in manufacture, distribution or sale of objects that have few, if any moving parts or that are simple in design or operation, like spare parts, jewellery, sporting goods or toys.  The ways in which the law and businesses choose to respond to these challenges and opportunities will be critical.


These are just some of the things that we'll be looking at in the year ahead. We will keep you informed as and when developments happen and make sure you understand how they affect you and your business. Contact us with any questions.

Co-authored by M Hall.

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This article is not legal advice and the views and comments are of a general nature only. This article is not to be relied upon in substitution for detailed legal advice.

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