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Australian patents online

BRW,  August 09, 2007

Author: Anthony Sibillin

By: Anthony Sibillin 

Businesses can for the first time search the full text of Australian patents online at

Remarkably, the free service was launched on July 12 by Cambia, a small, not-for-profit company based at the CSIRO in Canberra, using funds from the Norwegian government and two United States philanthropic organisations.

IP Australia, which administers Australian patents, is not due to offer a similar service until 2008. While businesses can already search general information about individual patents, such as who filed them, at, their full text is only available in non-searchable PDF format.

Cambia's founder and chief executive Richard Jefferson says that as a result, local businesses risk overlooking inventions they can then build on. "If you don't know what's out there, you can't know whether you can deliver your own inventions and ideas," he reasons.

Jefferson, an accomplished molecular biologist, admits to an ulterior motive for showing up IP Australia: to challenge the commonplace idea that Australia will prosper by aping America's restrictive approach to intellectual property. Instead, "when we are the little guy, we need to leverage what others do. I want to see Australia being a world leader in open innovation."