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Janet Stead & Associates assists many overseas patent and trade mark firms, and overseas clients, with the protection of intellectual property rights in Australia and New Zealand.


What is a patent?

A patent is a monopoly right issued by the Australian Patents Office (IP Australia) to the owner of an invention. It is a right granted to the owner of an invention giving the owner the exclusive right to the invention in Australia for 20 years.

In general, any device, substance, method or process can be patentable. Other forms of inventions such as computer software and 'business methods' can often also be patentable.

What is the benefit of a patent?

The owners of patents can benefit in a number of ways. They may benefit through obtaining profits from their exclusive right to manufacture, use and/or sell the invention. Patent owners may achieve a competitive edge over others in their marketplace. They may obtain royalty payments through licensing the invention to someone else. Alternatively a patent application or granted patent may be sold to another party.

What are the requirements for patenting an invention?

There are 3 main requirements and these are:

  • The invention must pertain to suitable subject matter to be patentable, such as being a device or a process;

  • The invention must be new (novel), that is the invention must not have been published anywhere in the world prior to the filing date of a patent application; and

  • The invention must involve an 'inventive step' (for a standard patent) and an 'innovative step' (for an innovation patent). In general, an inventive step or innovative step requires the invention to be non-obvious in light of material known in the particular art at the filing date.

What are the different types of patents?

There are 2 types of Australian patents; a standard patent and an innovation patent.

Standard Patent: A standard patent requires a higher 'standard' of inventiveness than an innovation patent and remains in force for 20 years.

Innovation Patent: An innovation patent has an 8 year term and may be granted (but is not usually enforceable) after a simple formalities examination..

How do I obtain a patent and what will it cost?

A patent application must be filed at IP Australia (the Australian Patents Office) to start the patenting process. A patent application must be accompanied by a patent specification describing the invention.

The patent process usually starts with the filing of a 'provisional' patent application followed by the filing of a 'complete' patent application. The specification filed with a complete application is in general more detailed than a provisional application and includes 'claims' which define the invention and set out the scope of the monopoly protection.

Patent Attorneys are professionals with expertise in drafting patent specifications. Janet Stead & Associates have qualified patent attorneys who are able to assist clients in preparing and filing patent applications.

The cost of preparing and filing a patent application will vary depending on the nature and complexity of the invention since our patent drafting is charged on a time basis. However, once we have discussed your invention with you, we are able to provide an estimate of the costs for all stages of the patent process.

We are able to provide further more detailed advice in all aspects of patent protection if required.