Peers, patents, prior art: The launch of Peer-To-Patent Australia

funny pictures of cats with captions

Did you know that someone has a patent (US Patent 5443036) over using a laser pointer to exercise a cat? Serious. Likewise, The Walt Disney Company has a patent (US Patent 5392735) on a device for talking to dolphins (and perhaps even “whales and porpoises” too)? With approximately 1 million patents being applied for across the world each year the task of examiners especially in assessing new technologies has become increasingly difficult.

A new service in Australia will help sort the patent chaff. Starting this morning, the newly-launched Peer-To-Patent Australia project is designed to improve the process and the quality of issued patents by helping to assess whether an invention is new and inventive. How? With your help!

Realising Our Broadband Future around Australia

And another one for those interested in government communications policy – on Thursday the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy is running the Realising Our Broadband Future forum at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

With an opening by – wait for it – the Prime Minister, the Hon Kevin Rudd, and featured keynote speakers including Senator the Hon. Stephen Conroy Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, well known open access advocate Senator Kate Lundy and CEO of the NBN Co. Mike Quigley, the day certainly looks set to be one of the keystone public consultation events in the lead up to the National Broadband Network.

From the website:

The National Broadband Network (NBN) will turbo-charge our digital economy and enable Australia to become a global leader in using the online world – the world of the 21st century. It will make possible new ways of delivering all essential services.

We need to start planning now for this new world to ensure we maximise the opportunities that the National Broadband Network will provide.

The Government is hosting the Realising Our Broadband Future forum to map the applications and business models that will thrive in Australia’s high speed broadband future.

The UNSW forum is invitation only – but to make sure everyone can get involved there are a number of options for remote participation, from a live stream to an idea wiki to Twitter hashtag. They’re also inviting people to suggest ideas or topics in advance of the forum, based around the five streams of:

• Smart Infrastructure
• e-Business.
• Digital Education
• e-Health
• e-Communities

Furthermore, there are a couple of complimentary forums popping up around the country, combining live streams of the main keynotes with local speakers and discussion forums. For instance, our sister research project, auPSI, will be hosting an event at QUT in Brisbane. A similar forum is being held at Parramatta.

So take advantage of the options to participate in shaping this important part of Australia’s development, while you still have the ability to have your say.