PATENTS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- A patent is an exclusive right or monopoly granted to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time, in exchange for the public disclosure of the invention. This monopoly gives you the right to exclude others from making, selling, using or importing the invention covered in the patent.
- You can apply for patent protection for a range of inventions. These include traditional inventions such as appliances, mechanical devices and so on. You may also protect such items as computer-related inventions, business methods and micro-organisms and other biological materials.
- You cannot patent human beings or the biological process for their generation, artistic creations, mathematical models, plans, schemes or other purely mental processes.
- To be eligible for patent protection your invention must be novel, that is it must be new when compared with the prior art and not been publicly disclosed in any form, anywhere in the world before the earliest priority date (date at which the application is first filed) and finally must involve an inventive step. An inventive step means that the invention is not an obvious thing to do for someone with knowledge and experience in the technological field of the invention. Provided your invention meets these requirements you should be able to get a patent granted.
- Typically inventors believe that their idea is new because they haven’t seen the product on the market. Unfortunately every year a large number of patents are filed around the world which never progress to a commercially viable product. Patent databases can contain a number of patents for inventions which are never marketed. Therefore in order to determine if your invention is new a patent database search should be completed by a patent searching professional. However as a first step, you can complete a simple keyword search for your invention on either the US Patent database or the European patent database. For more information please contact us.
- For a standard patent provided all renewal fees are paid the maximum term is 20 years.
- For an innovation patent provided all renewal fees are paid the maximum term is 8 years.
- The process of granting a standard patent usually takes up to 5 years.
- You may be able to file an innovation patent rather than a standard patent. The innovation patent requires an innovative step rather than an inventive step. The innovation patent has been designed to protect an incremental advance on existing technology.
- A ‘phase out’ of the innovation patent has begun and will not be able to file an innovation patent after 25 August 2021. The last innovation patents will expire 25 August 2029
If you have a patent in Australia, can a product be made elsewhere e.g. in China by someone and sold in Australia?
- Patents are jurisdictional and therefore you can enforce your patent in whichever countries you have filed a patent. If a product is manufactured in China without your permission and that person brings the product into Australia then you may take action against the person importing into Australia without your permission.
- Once your patent application has been filed with the Australian Patent Office, you can mark your product with “patent pending”. Once a patent is granted, you can mark your product with “patented” which can be followed by the official patent number.
- In Australia, marking your rights on your product is not compulsory, but it has some advantages. For example, marking your product with your patent rights means a potential infringer cannot argue that they were not aware of the rights and this is particularly important in Court proceedings.