Catherine Bond and Jessica C Lai
As with all areas of daily life during the First and Second World Wars, few aspects of intellectual property (IP) were left untouched by law across these periods. National governments sought to maintain existing rights and abide by international obligations while also viewing IP as part of the local war effort, seeking to utilise IP-protected creations as both a weapon against the enemy and as a way to enhance home-grown industries However, within a century after the end of the First World War, the relationship between IP, war and defence has been largely forgotten in modern legal IP scholarship. With a view to remedying this oversight, this chapter explores how two countries, New Zealand and Australia, dealt with patent law during the First World War. It examines the similarities and differences between the regimes in force in these countries, joined as part of the British Empire but with significant differences in their legal approaches, empirical applications, industries and communities. The chapter focuses on two key elements of these legal regimes: provisions that permitted the suspension and utilisation of enemy-owned patented inventions, and the requirement that applications and specifications for local inventions, where useful to the war effort, remained unpublished, lest such reporting benefitted the enemy.