If you are a budding inventor seeking to protect your invention, you may be asking yourself the question, “What is a patent?” A patent protects the way a device works, or its function. A granted patent provides you with a twenty year monopoly on your idea against imitation and allows it to be sold or licensed. Patent applications are lodged with the patent office of the country in which protection is sought. The Australian patent office is called IP Australia.
What is a patent? Subject matter
Having asked, “What is a patent?” you might want to know what kinds of things can be patented. Patents can be used to protect a new technology or the manner in which a device works. In Australia, patentable subject matter requires that in order for an idea to be patented, it must be a ‘manner of manufacture’. This includes patents relating to business methods or business ideas. However, in some jurisdictions, such as Europe, business methods as a general rule cannot be patented.
What is patent procedure?
The next question to ask in the series of “What is patent?” questions is “What is patent procedure?” Lodging an Australian provisional patent application is usually the first step in obtaining one or more patents anywhere in the world and will lay claim to your invention for 12 months. After filing a provisional patent application, a patent search is usually performed to attempt to identify relevant prior art. This will give you an indication of how likely it is that your patent application will succeed, and how to prosecute your patent application in later stages of the application process.
To pursue patent protection further, a complete application will then have to be filed within 12 months of filing the provisional application. A complete application can take the form of a PCT application that will mature into national phase applications lodged in the countries in which you seek protection, or direct applications filed individually in the countries you elect.
What is patent law?
Have you ever asked yourself, “What is patent law?” Well, patent law is the particular arm of law which concerns the regulation, enforcement and infringement of patents, the broader field of which relates to intellectual property. An experienced patent attorney can be of great assistance in successfully applying for a patent.
Important Disclaimer: The information on this website is not legal or professional advice. The information may:
- not be correct;
- only relate to the law or practice in a given country; and/or
- be outdated.