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  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: June 2012

14 - Patents for inventions: allocation of rights and ownership, the Register and dealings


The principal theme that emerges in all IP regimes is to vest ownership in the creator, but to vary this where creation is in the course of employment or pursuant to some other express contractual arrangement. The application process for obtaining the grant of a standard or innovation patent was described in chapter 12. In this chapter,we discuss a variety of matters that relate to the entitlement to apply and ownership, the allocation of rights, including the grant of interests in the Crown and compulsory licences, and the role of the Register.

Entitlement to apply

There may be a number of independent people or teams of people who are working on the same area of technology and who arrive at the same invention. All may satisfy the technical requirements that qualify them as ‘inventors’ who would be entitled to a grant of patent under s 15. However, priority for grant of a patent is given to the first of the inventors to complete the work and file for protection. It is possible to have joint applications for a patent.

There is no strict requirement of entitlement to apply, as was the position under both the Patents Act 1903 (Cth) and the Patents Act 1952 (Cth). This contrasts with the position under the Plant Breeder' Rights Act 1994 (Cth) (PBRA), for example, where the right to apply for PBR is vested in the breeder as personal property.