Applying for a patent in Australia is a challenging process, and it can take several years to complete. Individual inventors and businesses can expedite the process by working with a patent lawyer, but they shouldn’t expect the granting of a patent to occur overnight. There are five steps to follow and fees to pay along the way.
Step One: Investigate Options
By far the easiest way to start investigating options for patent filing is to contact Actuate IP patent lawyers. They can walk inventors through decisions like whether to apply for a standard patent or an innovation patent and whether to file a provisional or complete application. Before filing any application, the inventor will need to perform adequate patent searches to make sure the product truly is both new and inventive.
The threshold for meeting the requirements for standard patents is higher than that of innovation patents, which are designed to protect inventions with shorter market lives that can’t be granted standard patents. All the product needs to be eligible is to have an innovative step, meaning that there is something new to differentiate its operation from that of similar, existing products.
Step Two: Fill Out a Patent Application
There are two ways to go about filling out a patent application. Inventors can make a provisional application, which gives them a priority date and acts as a placeholder for the final one but does not offer any protection on its own, or they can file complete applications from the get-go. Keep in mind that filing a provisional patent application requires inventors to submit the final, full patent application within 12 months.
Step Three: Requesting an Examination
If the application has been submitted correctly, the inventor can request that the organization responsible for managing patents, called IP Australia, examine the patent. While the application will be published in the Australian Official Journal of Patents before the examination, the inventor won’t be able to legally enforce the patent until it passes this process, which must begin within five years of application.
Step Four: The Examination Process
The patent examiner may take up to two or three years to complete the examination process. The primary purpose of it is to review the claims made in the patent application and ensure that the invention truly is novel. If the examiner finds any tangible thing that could be used to dispute an inventor’s claim of originality, they will send a report of objection.
Patents often undergo multiple objections. Inventors can respond to them and try to convince the patent examiner that the initial objection was not justified. If the examiner is satisfied with the response or explanation, the patent will be granted. If not, it will be rejected and the inventor will have the opportunity to file an appeal.
Step Five: The Patent Is Granted
Registering a patent gives the inventor exclusive rights to manufacture and sell the new product without worrying about competition, so it should come as no surprise that the application process is quite rigorous. Once the patent is granted, the inventor can legally enforce it should someone violate their intellectual property rights.
Get the Process Started
The best way to get the process of filing a patent application started is to contact a patent lawyer. While there’s no requirement that inventors seek the help of a lawyer or another patent agent, it will be difficult to conduct sufficient research to ensure that the invention meets Australia’s strict requirements.