Australia's first Innovation Patent was granted on Monday 28th May for stSoftware web based, job management program, designed for small & medium businesses.
Nigel Leck, Senior Developer, yesterday received the award on behalf of ASP Converters P/L, an Australian software development company who specialize in converting existing database applications to be web-accessible. He said "this is an exciting moment for the Australian IT industry, the stSoftware database design is believed to be, not only unique in Australia, but also a world first".
stSoftware is a contact manager, to do list, and job-tracking system, which can be customized to suit individual businesses. It is designed to be used via the web, so it can be accessed any time, anywhere. This makes it ideal for service based businesses with mobile work teams. With low set up costs, and an access fee of around $3 per day per user, all businesses, small or large, now have access to the type of programs only previously available to large corporations.
The patent is important to stSoftware because it gives protection for the innovative design, as the architecture of the database is quite different from conventional databases. Customers won't notice any difference, but because of the way it is designed the system offers big business features, and high security, at a price affordable to small and medium size businesses. Essentially, the central functions are in a large core database, with individual databases extended from this core and customised for each business.
Improvements are continually made to the core database, which means that the client never has to worry about installing upgrades. As improvements are made they flow through to the extended individual databases. This means that the users receive the system improvements, and yet keep their unique database with any customized elements that have been added.
The innovation patent replaces the petty patent. The new innovation patent will help small businesses to protect innovations that up until now may not have been able to be protected by a patent. It is a relatively inexpensive patent right, which is quick and easy to obtain, indeed it is the first patent right available online from IP Australia. It is the result of government research into the needs of the Australian business community for a patent right to protect new products or improvements to products with commercial value.
The presentation was made by Dr Vivienne Thom, Commissioner of Patents at IP Australia, the government agency responsible for the Australian patents, trade marks and designs systems. Dr Thom believes that the innovation patent system will have significant advantages for small to medium sized businesses over the petty patent system.
"Unlike the previous petty patent system, the new system will provide a longer period of protection - eight years as opposed to six. The inventive threshold required for innovation patents will be lower than that required for the petty patent, meaning that innovations that would not have been able to be protected under the old system could be protected under the innovation patent system," Dr Thom said.