- Trade marks
- Plant breeder's rights
- Understanding IP
- IP infringement
A patent is a legally enforceable right for a device, substance, method or process. For your application to be successful, your invention must be new, useful and inventive or innovative.
When granted, a patent will give you exclusive commercial rights to your invention (a monopoly).
The type of patent you hold will determine the duration of your protection.
All Australian patent applications must be filed with us. We will assess your application to make sure it meets legislative requirements.
Take a look at our Patent application guide (PDF, 3.89 MB). This application guide is designed to help you prepare and file a patent application.
We recommend that you seek professional assistance before applying for a patent.
Be aware that if you demonstrate, sell or discuss your invention in public before filing an application with us, you may not get a patent.
If you want to discuss it with employees or business partners, have them sign a confidentiality agreement.
The protection provided by the Australian patent system contributes to the success of new inventions and the millions of dollars in earnings they generate.
A patent will:
If you have developed a new device, substance, method or process you should decide whether patenting it should be part of your business strategy.
A patent may be the right choice for you if:
Do your research and ensure you:
One option to consider when deciding if a patent is the right choice for you is a provisional application. Provisional applications are inexpensive and give you the earliest possible priority date. A priority date establishes the fact that you are the first person to file a new invention with us. While a provisional application doesn’t provide you with the protection of a full patent, it does give you up to 12 months to consider your options before deciding to proceed with a patent application.
If you are thinking about expanding your business overseas, you can also consider a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application for your invention. A PCT application will give you a quick indication of whether your invention can be patented. It also allows you to decide which countries you would like to have protection in.
A patent can be owned by:
You must provide an Australian address for legal service as well as an address for correspondence (which does not have to be in Australia).
A firm or partnership is unable to obtain a patent. The partners in the firm or partnership can, however, obtain a patent jointly in their own names.
Having considered all the issues, you may decide that patenting is not the best option for your particular circumstances. You may prefer to keep your invention as a trade secret. When making this decision, you should assess the risk of someone discovering your invention through industrial espionage or, if your invention is a product, by reverse engineering.
You also need to consider the consequences of someone else independently developing the same invention.
Another alternative is to openly use and publish details about your invention. Publicly disclosing an invention will prevent someone else obtaining a patent for it. However while no one would have a commercial monopoly on your invention, your competitors would be free to use it for their own benefit.
Trade mark basics
Find out what a trade mark is and learn about the differences between a trade mark and a design right, business name or domain name.
Types of trade marks
A trade mark is not limited to being a corporate logo. It could also be a jingle, your business name painted on the side of your truck or even a scent.
Benefits of a trade mark
A trade mark can be your most valuable marketing tool. It is your business identity that helps you promote your products or services.
The examination process is where we check your application to make sure it contains all the correct information and meets legislative requirements.
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