What is a patent?
A patent provides a legally enforceable right to prevent others from using, selling, importing or making an invention for a limited period of time.
There are two types of patents granted in Australia:
A standard patent is intended to protect inventions that have a relatively long development and commercialisation life cycle. Standard patents protect an invention for up to 20 years.
An innovation patent is intended to protect simpler inventions that provide minor advances over existing technology and/or those having a shorter commercial life. Innovation patents protect an invention for up to 8 years.
What are the requirements for the grant of a patent?
A patent can be for any invention such as a device, substance, method or process that satisfies at least the following requirements:
The invention must be ‘novel’ or new. In other words, the invention must not have been publicly disclosed or used anywhere in the world.
Inventive Step / Innovative Step
In the case of a standard patent, the invention must involve an ‘inventive step’. This means that the invention must not be obvious to a person who is experienced in the same technical field as the invention. An ‘obvious’ invention is one that would be arrived at ‘as a matter of course’ in light of the general body of knowledge known or used by those in the field of the invention.
In the case of an innovation patent, the invention must involve an ‘innovative step’ rather than an inventive step. This means that the invention must comprise a difference from known technologies that makes a substantial contribution to the working of the invention. This is generally considered a lower threshold than that for ‘inventive step’.
The invention must be useful or have utility. In other words, the invention must achieve the purpose intended by the applicant/patentee.
If you have any questions or require assistance with obtaining patent protection in Australia and/or overseas, please contact our patent attorneys at firstname.lastname@example.org.