Australian Patents Overview


Australian patents include provisional patent applications, which lapse 12 months after filing, and standard patents which have a maximum term of 20 years, once granted.

Australian Patents

Provisional Patent Applications

Provisional patent applications are often the first step in the patent process. A provisional patent patent application will lapse 12 months after filing and you must file an associated complete patent application (such as an Australian standard patent application) within 12 months to maintain your patent rights.

A provisional patent application is only ever an “application” and does not itself ever provide any enforceable patent rights. However, it does secure your “priority date” (the date of your invention) on which your complete patent application may be based. This allows you to disclose your invention if you wish once the provisional patent application has been filed.

Because a provisional patent application is the basis for all later associated patent application – it is critical that it is prepared correctly such as including an appropriate level of disclosure, flexible terminology and takes into account international patent law.  It is a common misconception that provisional patent applications are a “rough” or “cheap” way to patent rights – this is not the case – a provisional patent specification should be drafted with the same rigor as a standard patent specification.

Standard Patent Applications

Australian standard patents are a form of complete patent that may claim priority from an associated provisional patent application or be filed as a first instance, stand-alone application.   As a complete application, the standard patent specification needs to be comprehensive to fully disclose and describe your invention, and once filed – it is generally difficult to add any new information.

To be granted, your standard patent application will need meet the requirements (as outlined below) which generally include novelty, inventive step and sufficiency of disclosure.  Once granted, the maximum term of a standard patent is 20 years, provided that the renewals (which are due payable from the 4th year from filing) are paid to keep the patent in-force.

The standard patent process from filing to grant will usually take between 2 to 6 years.

The standard patent process is set out below.

The General Requirements

A standard patent is required to claim an invention that is novel. Novelty is relatively straight forward and requires that your invention, as claimed in the patent, includes at least one new feature or a combination of features which are not shown in the prior art. Such prior art may be a prior patent which was published prior to the filing of your patent applications. However, sometimes the prior art may be a magazine, website or even your own prior publication or use.

A standard patent is also required to claim an invention that exhibits an inventive step. The consideration of inventive step is a little more complex in comparison to novelty – but basically requires your invention, as claimed in the patent, to include a feature or combination of features which are considered to be non-obvious to a person skilled in the relevant field of technology. In assessing inventive step, more than one prior art document may be combined, to assert that an invention lacks an inventive step.

In practice, it is often found that if your invention is novel and includes at least some advantage or function which is different to the prior art then there is a good chance the invention will be considered to exhibit an inventive step. However, if you feel your invention really is more of an incremental improvement then you may wish to consider alternative IP rights such as a registered design.

In addition – the invention as claimed is also required to be fully described and supported by the description. In other words, your patent application will need to clearly and comprehensively describe your invention in a manner which would allow another skilled person to work the invention with only a minimal amount of trial and experimentation. In essence, the law says that you can’t be rewarded with a patent unless you have described the invention in manner which will be later useful to the greater public after your patent has lapsed or expired.

Grace Period

Australian standard patent applications have a general grace period of 12 months for the Applicant’s own disclosure. This means that is you have disclosed your invention prior to filing your  standard patent application – you may be able to have this disclosure discounted and therefore maintain novel, which as outlined above is a key requirement to obtaining a patent.

The Process

There are multiple steps to obtain a standard patent

Step 1


A standard patent application is prepared and filed at IP Australia. It may optionally claim priority from a provisional patent application filed within the previous 12-months.

Step 2

Publication - 18 Months

The contents of your patent application will be published 18-months from the earliest priority date.

Step 3

Continuation/Renewal Fees - 4th Year

Continuation/renewal fees are due every year from the 4th anniversary of the standard patent filing date.

Step 4

Examination - 5th Year

By the 5th year (and usually sooner) – you will need to pay to have your patent examined  – and a Report or acceptance notice will issue. If a Report is issued you will need to respond to address any issue raised.

Step 5


Prosecution relates to the “back-and-forward” with an Examiner to address any issues with your patent (such as novelty and/or inventive step). In many case, amendments can be made to the patent claims to address these issues. It is also possible to arrange an interview with the Examiner.

Step 6


When you patent is accepted, there are acceptance fees payable to achieve grant

Step 7


Australian patent applications are open to opposition for a period of 3 months from the date of the advertisement of the notice of acceptance.

Step 8


You will be issued with a Notice of Grant and your patent certificate. You now have a granted Australian patent and are entitled to enforced your patent rights against a third party infringing your patent rights.


What our clients say

As I move into consultancy, I would like to acknowledge your part in assisting WEARX achieve its IP management plan objectives. We moved our portfolio for a large Sydney based Patent Attorney firm in mid-2013 to Caska IP – and I’m pleased to say this has paid off. Your dedicated approach to finding the best way to provide us with appropriate IP protection in challenging market conditions, has helped us achieve commercial security and good management. In summary, your service level and cost base has exceeded our expectations.

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I have been involved in business consultancy for over 25 years. This has involved launching new businesses, ideas, products as well as assisting existing businesses to expand. In that time I have experienced many start ups and dealt with a large range of Intellectual Property. Andrew Caska, Principal Patent Attorney of Caska IP, has recently provided his services to one of my clients and we worked closely to formalise important patents and trade marks. His understanding of the invention, his work and timely delivery were all first class and we are very happy with the outcomes.

Grant Harms, Business Consultant,

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David Edwards, CEO & Founder, Automed Pty Ltd

As an individual inventor, I set out to find a Patent Attorney service that was accessible and reasonably priced to assist in lodging my first patent application. I found Caska IP to be not only affordable and accessible, but highly professional and attentive to my needs and requirements. Caska IP worked with me to assist in refining my idea and expressing its unique qualities. I highly recommend Caska IP to the individual inventor.

Lester Walters, Inventor, QUAD R&D Pty Ltd

I was relatively unaware of what was needed and admit to being a bit nervous. Your perception and interpretation of what I was trying to achieve gave me great comfort. On receipt of the initial draft I was impressed with the professional presentation and the attention to detail with little alteration being required. You may rest assured that I will be using Caska IP for future projects (of which I have several) after this one is put to bed.

John Plumridge, Inventor

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