Australian Patents

A patent can be a right granted for any device, substance, method or process which is new, inventive and useful. Granted standard patents and certified innovation patents are legally enforceable and give the owner the exclusive right to market and protect their patent to ensure commercial gain in Australia.


In Australia there are two types of patents, namely standard patents and innovation patents. Standard patents offer the full protection allowable up to 20 years, while innovation patents offer a much faster application process and gives short-term protection for up to 8 years for incremental product developments.

Standard Patents Innovation Patents
Protection Period Up to 20 years (25 years for pharmaceuticals) Up to 8 tears
Requirements Novelty, utility and inventive step Novelty, utility and innovative step (lower threshold than inventive step)
Examination Mandatory Optional
Publication 18 months from priority date At grant
Timeframe for Grant Several years 1 month
Enforceability Once granted Once a granted patent is certified after substantial examination


The first step in obtaining a patent usually involves filing a provisional patent application. This establishes a priority date for the invention while it gives you an additional 12 months to continue the patenting process by either filing a complete application or international applications.


Details of the patent application are published in the Official Journal of Patents about 18 months from the priority date. Examination of the patent must be requested within 5 years of the filing date, otherwise the application lapses. After examination, either an adverse report or a notice of acceptance is issued. Once all objections in the examination report are overcome, the application is accepted, following which a third party may oppose within the following 3 months. If the patent is either unopposed or an opposition fails, the standard patent is then granted.



It is a relatively quick and inexpensive way to obtain protection for your new device, substance, method or process that may not qualify as a ground breaking invention and thus standard patent protection. If you want protection for an invention with a short market life that might be superseded by newer innovations, such as computer based inventions, an innovation patent is worth considering.


An innovation patent is only checked to ensure it satisfies the formality requirements, then granted and published in the official journal usually within 1 month from the filing date. However, it does not mean the patent is enforceable. To be enforceable, the granted patent must be certified after passing substantial examination.


Our team of experienced patent attorneys in each technology is ready to assist you in filing Standard or Innovation Patent Applications. For more information, call us today on 02 9233 1411 or send us an online enquiry.

Common Questions

How long does it take to get a patent granted?

The period of time from filing a standard patent application to having the patent granted in Australia is anywhere between 2-5 years. For an innovation patent, it takes 1-2 months for grant as the application is only checked against the formality requirements.

Can I still patent my invention if I have already published it?

Public disclosure of an invention before filing a patent application may result in the patent being invalid. So it’s important to keep your invention secret or at least confidential before filing a patent application. However, it may still be possible to patent your invention in Australia if such public disclosure was made in certain circumstances within the grace period of 12 months before filing the application.