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If you have created an invention for your business, you must register it as a patent to ensure your idea is legally protected. Registering a patent requires you to meet several key obligations, including a disclosure requirement. This article will explain how patent disclosure works and what you need to do to meet this requirement.

What is a Patent?

A patent is an exclusive set of rights granted for a set period of time, in a particular country, for any device, substance, method or process that is new, inventive and useful (an invention), after a successful examination process. 

To receive a patent, the entity applying has to disclose the invention fully in the patent application, making the information available to the public. Consequently, some inventors make the business decision not to disclose their inventions in a patent application, instead opting to keep their invention confidential as a trade secret.

To receive a patent, there are various legal requirements that you must satisfy both in the invention, and in the documentation filed to disclose the invention. In addition to meeting the criteria for a patentable subject matter, a patent application must include a patent specification that satisfies the legislative requirements for adequate disclosure. These are also known as patent disclosure requirements, and you must meet these requirements at the time of filing.

Legislative Requirements For Disclosure

A patent specification must meet the requirements set out in Section 40 of the Patent Act 1990. Broadly, the requirements are that the patent specification must describe the invention:

  • fully;
  • clearly; and 
  • succinctly.

The requirements are weighted equally with the more commonly known requirements of:

  • novelty; and 
  • having an inventive step.

As such, a patent application for an invention may be rejected based on the patent specification, even if the invention itself is deemed patentable.

Key Requirements of the Patent Specification

Clear and Complete Description

The patent specification must contain a written description of the invention, and the process and manner of making, using or performing the invention. The description should be complete, clear, concise, and sufficient so a person skilled in the relevant area can reproduce the invention. 

The description must detail the ‘best method’ for performing the invention at the time of filing the patent application.

Clear and Succinct Claims

The patent specification should include one or more claims to distinctly claim the subject matter of the invention. The claims must be clear, and there should be full support for the claims in the description. Although claims define the legal monopoly, if the description cannot support the claim, the patent will not be granted.

Reasons Behind the Strict Requirement

It is important to remember that a claim defines the boundary of an invention in the patent application. This will also define the boundary of the rights afforded by a granted patent. As such, the boundary needs to be fair, meaning it is not broader than the core invention you have developed. It also needs to be clear, so third parties can easily determine if they are potentially infringing your rights.

Key Takeaways

Intellectual property can be a valuable commodity, and you should make sure your patents are protected. Part of protecting your patent is ensuring that it meets all patent disclosure requirements. This is not always an easy task. If you require assistance in gaining a better understanding of your intellectual property rights and protecting your patents, contact LegalVision’s patent lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

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