Patenting your idea should be considered as a very important part of your invention’s commercialisation. Without protection, potentially anyone can copy your invention and profit from it. You should also be aware that public disclosure of your idea without having filed a patent application can potentially result in loss of the opportunity to patent it in the future. In Australia, however, where a public disclosure of an invention is made by or with the consent of a nominated person (usually the applicant), what is known as a ‘grace period’ applies. The grace period provides that such a public disclosure does not invalidate a subsequent patent application, provided that a complete application is filed within 12 months of the disclosure.
Patentable Subject Matter
The Australian patent office, IP Australia, checks the proposed invention for patentability. The basic requirements are that the idea be new, inventive and useful. This may take the form of a device, substance, method or process, and may even include a business method. Patentable subject matter, however, does not extend to artistic creations, mathematical models, plans or other purely mental or artistic processes.
Types of Australian Patents
Two types of patents are available in Australia: the standard patent and the innovation patent. The former provides the applicant with a monopoly over their idea for up to 20 years. The innovation patent, on the other hand, is a protection option specifically designed to protect inventions that do not meet the inventive threshold required for standard patents. An innovation patent lasts only up to 8 years and is a quicker, less expensive alternative to the standard patent. Both types require payment of renewal fees.
Provisional Patent in Australia
A provisional patent application provides you with 12 months to develop your invention or refine your patent specification. It also gives you time to consider the commercial prospects of your invention and whether it is worthwhile to pursue patent protection beyond this stage
Your provisional patent application must include a patent specification as well as forms detailing your application. The patent specification itself must provide a description of your invention and its characteristics, and should therefore be sufficiently broad so as to prevent circumvention by potential copiers. A registered patent attorney is specifically qualified to draft a specification in this manner, whilst carefully and accurately shaping the most appropriate patent rights sought for your idea. Provisional patent applications can now be filed online.
In order to properly apply for a patent, you must file a complete application before 12 months have elapsed from the priority date. Failure to file a complete application within this 12 month period will result in a loss of priority.
National phase Australian patent applications
- Particulars of the PCT patent application including WIPO publication number; and
- If the PCT international patent application is in a language other than English, an English copy of the application, certified by its translator as a true and complete translation.
IP Australia may also request the following additional documents during the filing process:
- Verified English translation of the basic application;
- Notice of Entitlement (this can be prepared and signed by an Australian patent attorney).
- Appointment of Agent;
- 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.
For more information, please contact the Site Administrator: Baxter IP Patent Attorneys Sydney.