A patent of addition can bolster your existing IP protection

What happens if you already have a patent but want to modify it? This is a situation where a patent of addition can play a key role.

Imagine this scenario: You spend years developing an invention and perfecting your design for it, until finally you arrive at a finished product and apply for a patent. Then, after the patent application is already submitted, you decide you're not done making improvements. You still have one last change you want to make. What do you do?

With a patent of addition, you're taking an existing piece of intellectual property and bolstering your patent protection around it.

In Australia, there's a great answer for this question – you get a patent of addition. This is exactly what it sounds like. You're taking an existing piece of your intellectual property (IP) and bolstering your patent protection around it, adding another feature to the IP claim you already have in place. If you want to fully protect what's yours, this can be an invaluable asset.

How a patent of addition works

So, what happens if you've already got a patent in the works but you want to add to it? According to the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPOA), the process is fairly simple. Under patent law in Australia, a patent of addition can be granted for any "non-inventive improvement or modification" made by the same inventors as the original product in question.

In other words, you don't have to create anything entirely new – just a little tweak will suffice. IPOA further specifies that no renewal fees are necessary, since you're just adding to an existing (and previously paid for) patent. If your software has a new feature, or your pharmaceutical drug has a new function, you can get that protected.

Your patent does not stand alone

A patent of addition is just that: an addition. Before applying for one, you have to make sure the original patent you're adding to is on solid ground.

What if you've got new features to add to your existing invention?What if you've got new features to add to your existing invention?

IP Australia cautions that under intellectual property law in Australia, an addition will not be considered unless the original patent has already been considered, and likewise, the addition won't be granted until the parent patent is. A patent of addition can't stand on its own; you have to take care of first things first.

Get help from the pros at Alder IP

All the rules surrounding this patenting process can be complicated, but they're easier to handle if you have capable legal help. At Alder IP, we can connect you with a patent attorney in Sydney who has been through the process before and knows what to expect.

If you're applying for a patent of addition – or any other IP protection, for that matter – our attorneys can review your application and give you an honest assessment of its quality. Talk to us today if you've got a question and would like us to weigh in.