Now that you’ve decided your great idea needs a patent registration to protect its future, you need to work out which option is the best for you. Depending how your game-changing product is categorised, you’ll have two different options to choose between, with patent law breaking up the process in accordance with what you have developed.

Patent applications in Australia will fall into one of three main categories, either provisional, standard or innovation patents depending on how far through the development process they are.

If you have a fully formed idea and you want to protect it in the long term with the maximum amount of control, you’ll likely be wanting to apply for a standard patent (also called a complete or convention application) – a process that will secure your intellectual property for substantially more time than the innovation patent alternative.

Provisional patent applications have a very limited lifespan and are useful where your product is undergoing development at the time of filing. Provisional patent applications are very flexible and give room for a lot of initial amendments. Provisional applications are usually a stepping stone for further applications such as the standard application or innovation patent.

What is a standard patent?

The defining feature of a standard patent in Australia is the time for which it lasts. While innovation patents are quicker, cheaper and last for eight years, standard patents allow for 20 years’ worth of protection, keeping your intellectual property safe for the longest possible time under current patent law.

This extends even further if the idea or technology that is the subject of the patent application can be considered a pharmaceutical substance. Budding chemists will be pleased to note that in these cases standard patents in Australia will last for 25 years, keeping your hard work safe for the longest possible time.

Alder IP provides guidance on these standard patent applications to ensure they are the best option for your idea. Choosing to pursue these processes on your own could jeopardise the future of your innovation and affect your ability to get the maximum amount of protection if it is incorrectly categorised.

What’s more, standard patent applications are generally the more expensive option, so it’s best to get it right first time. Also, there are very limited opportunities to fix or correct standard or innovation patent applications once they are actually filed.

How do I know if my idea is suitable for a standard patent?

The first question you should ask yourself when considering patent application reads ‘is my idea new and inventive?’ If so, you can begin to move on with the rest of the process. A patent attorney specialising in Australian patent law will be able to help you in this regard, ensuring you’re not encroaching on another party’s intellectual property in the process. Also, you can conduct free patent background research using Google Patents.

This also encourages innovation and forces great inventors to form revolutionary ideas instead of treading the same old ground. Therefore, this criteria should be seen as a challenge rather than a limitation.

Once you have determined whether or not your ideas can be considered new, the next step is to work out whether have you enough description to support the claims of the patent. Also the invention needs to be of patentable subject material and this concept varies considerably between countries.

Finally, if your idea is useful and brand new there is just one more hoop to jump through. Is it inventive or innovative?

The patent application process in Australia is designed to preserve only the best ideas, keeping the country’s inventors on their toes. In this case, innovation refers to anything that can be considered an inventive step in light of other ideas, research and technology in the respective field.

What happens to my patent application next?

Once you are satisfied your idea meets all three criteria, it’s time to submit a patent application. As resubmissions and amendments can be costly, it’s best to consult an expert advisory service such as Alder IP. Not only do we know the process inside and out, we can manage it for you, giving you more time to change the world.

After the process is complete, the patent is yours, affording you decades of patent protection for your hard-earned work.