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Australian E-Commerce Patent Battle Continues

by Mary Swire, for, Hong Kong

18 July 2003

The battle to halt the progress of a patent effectively covering all e-commerce transactions in Australia is gathering steam, according to reports in the national media.

Canadian D.E. Technologies, which has already successfully filed such a patent in New Zealand, lodged a request with IP Australia in 1999 to be recognised as the inventor of 'an international transaction system for operation over the internet/intranet (which) provides a pre-transactional calculation of all charges involved in any international transaction.'

The patent was on the verge of being sealed earlier this week when an application from Syntropy Systems' head of business development, Matthew Tutaki to extend the cooling-off period was submitted.

Speaking on Thursday, following D.E Technologies' demands that internet firms in New Zealand, where the e-commerce patent is a fait accompli, obtain licences for the technology, Mr Tutaki revealed that he had been in touch with a Congressional contact in the United States to warn him of the implications of the move.

'This patent is a global threat and a threat to international trade conducted over the internet - the warning to my colleagues in the US is simple, be prepared for what is currently happening in Australia, I am certain you will eventually receive the same treatment,' he announced.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, commissioner of patents and registrar of designs, Fatima Beattie explained that D.E. Technologies will be notified of the request to extend the cooling off period, and that if the firm chooses to oppose that request, a hearing will be held.

However, if the extension is not granted, then Mr Tutaki can apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the decision. If this fails, the matter may have to go before the courts.

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