Patenting an invention is the best thing you can do to protect your ideas and make the most of new products.
Since Australia’s patent system can be complex, many people choose to work with professional attorneys when filing applications. A patent attorney can simplify the process and dramatically increase the chances of your patent being granted.
In this article we’ll explore how to patent a product in Australia and the areas where a patent attorney can support your application.
What Does a Patent Protect?
A patent is a form of intellectual property that can be used to protect devices, substances, methods and processes. As long as your product is new, inventive and useful, it is eligible for patent protection.
It is possible to patent a wide range of inventions, including things like:
- New products, devices, appliances and tools
- Mechanical devices
- Medical devices
- Pharmaceutical drugs
- Biological materials
- Business methods
- Some types of software and computer-related inventions
If you are granted a patent, you earn the exclusive right to use, licence, sell and commercially exploit your invention. You are also granted the right to take legal action against anyone that uses your invention without your permission.
How to Patent a Product in Australia
- Determine whether your product can be patented
Patenting a product can be a time-consuming exercise. You should do your research to figure out whether your product can be patented, and whether you want to patent your product.
The details of your invention are made public when you patent a product. In some cases, it makes more sense to keep your invention a trade secret, or to make your invention freely available.
If you want to patent your invention, it must be kept a secret and cannot be publicly published, demonstrated or discussed before a patent application is filed. There is a 12 month grace period in Australia, the United States and certain other countries, during which you can file a standard patent application after publicly disclosing your invention. However, it is strongly advised to file an application before disclosing your invention.
- Decide who owns the patent
Patents can be owned by:
- The person or people who invented the product
- A company or person who has legally obtained the rights to the invention
- A company whose employee created the invention in the course of their workplace duties
Your application needs to include details about ownership of the patent. Since patents hold immense commercial value, it’s critical that you structure ownership in the right way.
- Perform an existing patent search
Products can only be patented if they are new and inventive. You will need to perform a search of existing patents to ensure that your product doesn’t already exist.
Patent searches should be performed with the help of a patent attorney. The patent database is extensive and determining whether your invention is new and inventive can be complex. Engaging a patent attorney is the most time and cost-effective way to search the database.
- Draft your patent application
This is the most important part of the patent process. You need to gather relevant documentation and prepare a specification that describes your invention in detail. Patent specifications must include:
- A detailed description of the invention and how it is used
- Claims detailing what you have invented
- Technical drawings that help describe your invention
There is no requirement to draft your specification with the help of a patent attorney. However, patent specifications are complex, and an attorney can dramatically improve the chances of a patent being granted and enforcable.
Remember that your invention will be made public when you file your application. If your application is rejected, other parties may be able sell the same or similar products. This could have serious commercial impacts.
- File your application with IP Australia
If you have used an attorney, they will complete your patent application through IP Australia’s online services portal. The Filing fee must be paid at this time.
- Applications are advertised in the AOJP
New Standard Patent applications are advertised in the Australian Official Journal of Patents (AOJP). They are also published to AusPat Search and your invention becomes public knowledge.
- Request Examination
Patents must be examined before they can be granted. You can request an examination when you file your application or afterwards. Examination must be requested within 5 years of filing an application, or as directed by the Commissioner of Patents.
Once you have paid your examination fee, an examinerwill review the application and determine whether it meets the requirements for patent protection.
It may take up to 12 months for new patent applications to be examined.
- Resolve or respond to issues raised
The patent examiner may raise issues about your application. You have 12 months to resolve and overcome these issues. Patent examiners commonly raise issues about:
- Products that aren’t new or inventive
- Products that aren’t suitable for patenting
You can respond to these issues by amending the claims, or by challenging the examiner. If you choose to challenge the examiner, you will likely need the support of your patent attorney to draft a defence.
- Receive your outcome
Finally, you will receive an outcome about whether your application has passed the examination process.
If your patent is accepted, it is published in the Australian Official Journal of Patents for 3 months. Anyone can oppose your patent during this period. Once you have overcome any objections, your patent is granted.
Design Robust Patents with the Attorneys at KINGS!
Australia’s patent system provides robust protection for new and inventive products. If you intend to manufacture, sell, licence or commercialise your product, a patent allows you to make the most of your IP.
Developing patent applications is a time consuming and technical process. Working with the patent attorneys at Kings is the best way to ensure your IP is protected!
Kings is an independent IP attorney Brisbane based firm. Our attorneys specialise in drafting and filing patent, trade mark and design registration applications. With decades of experience in preparing patent applications for mechanical devices, software and ICT products, mining technologies and more, our attorneys can obtain the protection you need.
You can contact us online to get started, or call us directly for a confidential consultation with our patent law experts.