You are required to apply for the grant of a patent if you intend to protect your rights to a new and original concept, idea or design you have created.
A patent is legally enforceable and gives the owner the exclusive right to commercially exploit the invention for the life of the patent.
There are two types of patents in Australia:
- A standard patent, which gives long-term protection and control over an invention for up to 20 years; and
- An innovation patent, which is a relatively fast and inexpensive protection option lasting a maximum of 8 years.
It is a requirement that as a patent applicants you must provide the Agency with a full description of how your invention works. This information becomes public and can provide the basis for further research by others.
Please consult the Contact Officer for more information.
A licence defines the need to obtain recognition / certification and registration to undertake a certain business activity.
A patent can be owned by:
- The inventors;
- A person who has legally obtained rights to the invention from the inventors or an intermediary; or
- An employer of someone who made the invention in the course of their normal duties.
If your invention was created by the employees of your company during the course of their job then the patent may be registered in the company's name. If your business has been created under a partnership structure then one, or more, of the partners must become the registered owner or the partners in the firm or partnership can obtain a patent jointly in their own name.
In your application you must include a patent specification, which includes a written description which accurately and broadly describes the characteristics of the invention and state the scope of the patent rights sought.
Prior to filing a complete application you can also file a provisional application. While a provisional application will not result in an enforceable granted patent it can be useful in establishing an early priority date.
Please consult the Contact Officer for more information regarding eligibility requirements.
Standard patents: 20 years provided required annual maintenance fees are paid. Innovation Patent: 8 years provided required annual maintenance fees are paid.
Fees vary depending on individual circumstances. Please consult the Contact Officer for fee information.
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
Patent and Plant Breeder's Rights Group
Patents Act 1990 (Australian Government)
Patents Regulations 1991 (Australian Government)
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