The End of Innovation Patents in Australia
Australia’s innovation patent system may be phased-out as early as July 2018. Before the innovation patent system is abolished, potential patent owners should use this system to its fullest. We recommend that all innovation patent applications are filed as soon as possible to take advantage of protecting your IP under this low cost, low threshold registration system.
What is an innovation patent?
Australia has two patent types: a standard 20-year patent and an innovation patent.
The innovation patent is a powerful intellectual property asset. It is relatively easy, quick and inexpensive to obtain, while being difficult to invalidate.
The innovation patent has a lower standard of inventiveness than a standard patent. It is not necessary to show “an inventive step”, but rather all that is required is to show “an innovative step”. This means that products that might not necessarily qualify for a standard patent, may be protected under the innovation patent system.
Another advantage of innovation patents is that the cost of examination is delayed until “certification”. Because there is no examination, an innovation patent is usually granted within a month of filing the complete application. This means that you can secure an innovation patent relatively quickly and cheaply.
The innovation patent term is only 8 years and is limited to 5 claims. But, it can be a good tool to give businesses a competitive first-mover advantage in the market and can be used as a strategic asset in enforcing patent rights.
What will happen to existing innovation patents?
Abolishing the innovation patent system will not affect existing rights. The system will continue to operate for innovation patents that were filed before the new law commences. That’s why it’s important that your innovation patent is filed as soon as possible.
In addition, the existing right to file divisional applications and convert a standard patent application to an innovation patent application will be maintained for any patent application that was filed prior to the commencement of the new law.
So, if you want to take advantage of the innovation patent system in Australia, you should review your patent portfolio now.
- · File all new innovation patents before July 2018.
- · Identify patents where you may want to file divisional applications for innovation patents.
- · Identify standard patents that you may want to convert to innovation patents.
How can we help?
If you are considering protecting your IP through the innovation patent system, then contact us now. We can assist you in protecting your patents in Australia and New Zealand.
Significant changes to Australia’s intellectual property laws will continue to develop in 2018. These changes are part of new legislation promoted by IP Australia. We can expect to see changes to Australia’s patent, trade mark, design and plant breeder’s rights legislation.
We will continue to keep you posted on any new developments.