A patent protects the function or operation of an idea. Without patent protection, your idea can be misappropriated by another, copied and even potentially patented, leaving you unable to profit from the opportunity at all. It is therefore of extreme importance for your idea’s successful commercialisation that you seek patent protection. Patent applications are lodged with the patent office of the country in which protection is sought. The Australian patent office is IP Australia.
What can I patent in Australia?
IP Australia is guided by Australian patent law to determine that the basic criteria for patentability are met, i.e. that the idea is new, inventive and useful:
- Novelty — the invention is novel or “new” in light of the prior art information
- Inventive step — the invention would not have been obvious to a person skilled in the relevant art in light of the common general knowledge as it existed in the patent area before the priority date of the relevant claim
- Useful — the idea functions as described in the specification
These requirements are applicable to devices, substances, methods and processes as, generally, patentable subject matter, but artistic creations, mathematical models, plans or other purely artistic or mental processes are not patentable.
How can I get a patent in Australia?
IP Australia grants two kinds of patents. The standard patent affords the applicant with a monopoly over their invention for up to 20 years. An innovation patent, conversely, endures for up to 8 years and is a speedier, cheaper alternative to the standard patent. Innovation patents also require a lower threshold of inventiveness, whereby the invention must be innovative rather than inventive. Renewal fees apply for both types.
An Australian provisional application is often the initial step in a bid to obtain patent protection. It provides you with 12 months to further develop both your invention and your patent specification. Filing the provisional application creates a priority date, so that the protection afforded to your patent can claim back to this date. Before the 12 month period has lapsed, you must file a complete application in order to proceed to the next step of securing your patent.
National phase patent applications in Australia
- Details of the PCT patent application including WIPO publication number; and
- If the PCT international patent application is not in English, an English copy of the application, verified as a true and complete translation by its translator.
IP Australia may also request the following additional documents during the filing process:
- Notice of Entitlement (this can be prepared and signed by an Australian patent attorney).
- Appointment of Agent;
- Certified English translation of the basic application;
- Details of any amendments made during international phase; and/or
- A copy of the International Preliminary Examination Report if applicable.
Important Disclaimer: The information on this website is not legal or professional advice. The information may:
- not be correct;
- only relate to the law or practice in a given country; and/or
- be outdated.