IP Australia has launched a web site that will allow Australians to comment on pending patent applications.
Announcing the trial, Richard Marles, the Federal parliamentary secretary for innovation and industry, said the opt-in Peer-to-Patent (P2P) web site would help assess whether a particular invention was eligible for a patent.
The trial will look specifically at gathering community input into business method patents; a class of patents which disclose and claim new methods of doing business.
"This twelve month Peer-to-Patent trial shows how receptive the Australian Government is to innovation and extracting the benefits of Web 2.0," Marles said.
"It makes good sense to use technology to add a layer of checks and balances in our intellectual property system so it can meet the challenges of the future."
Spokesman for IP Australia, Peter Willimott, explained how the web site would work.
"The new initiative cuts in at that examination process," Willimott said.
"So someone has applied for a business patent for a business method ... and if they say they're happy for it to go on the Peer-to-Patent web site it gets published ... where a community of experts can then comment on it."
He said that when IP Australia's patent examiner came to examining the patent application they could look at the comments made on the web site and use it for their research in determining whether a patent was eligible.
"It's designed to improve the patent application process and then at the end of the day gives someone a stronger patent right," Willimott said.
"We want to ... see what sort of information is drawn out for putting it up for community comment."