A patent is a form of intellectual property protection granted to creations and inventions that are new, useful, and inventive or innovative. It grants you a monopoly over that creation or invention whether it be a new device, substance, method or process. This monopoly means that only you can use the invention. If other businesses or individuals wish to use your invention, they will require a licence or permission from you as the patent holder.

There are two main types of patents in Australia — a standard patent (lasts up to 20 years) and an innovation patent (last up to 8 years). A standard patent is suited where you improve upon an existing creation while the innovation patent is appropriate where you create something new. Despite their differences, they both enjoy the same advantages: the right to stop competitors, the ability to monetise off licencing and the incentive to continue research and development.

It is important that you do not disclose your creation or invention to the public before you file your application. Disclosure will mean that your patent is not ‘new’ and your application may fail. LegalVision’s patent lawyers can advise you on the correct steps or prepare confidentiality agreements where needed.

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5 Things You Need to Know About Patents

  • 1Patenting an invention is not easy. Many business people who consider patenting do not end up proceeding with the process. This is mainly because their invention is not unique enough to satisfy the rigorous patenting regulations, but also because patenting can be expensive.
  • 2There are two main types of patents — innovation patents and standard patents. An innovation patent is designed to be a quick, easy and cheap way to protect the intellectual property of an invention that only represents a small development in the underlying technology. An innovation patent will protect your invention for eight years. You can also apply for an international patent.
  • 3Applying for a standard patent is a more expensive, drawn-out way of protecting your invention. It does, however, offer longer term protection of 20 years. Your patent attorney will advise you on which type of patent (if any) is most suitable for your business.
  • 4You may also choose to register an international (PCT) patent. PCT stands for Patent Cooperation Treaty and is a system that 148 countries adhere to. The process of applying for, and being granted, a PCT patent is complex. A patent attorney will be able to guide you through the process.
  • 5Patenting is a complex area of Intellectual Property law. It’s hard to manage a patent application without the assistance of a patent attorney. Patent attorneys have distinct and sought after skills, but it is still possible to get a fixed-fee and competitive price in the market.