So, you’ve got an inventive idea that can transform people’s lives and generate high income. Awesome!
But what good will it be if you don’t have legal protections protecting your idea and someone steals the idea and makes money off your idea?
People trading off other people’s ideas has happened before and it can happen to you.
If you want to commercialize your idea, you should obtain a patent to protect it.
If you’re not sure what a Patent is and how to patent an idea in Australia, we’ve got you covered.
This article includes everything you need to know about patenting your idea in Australia.
Have a look.
What Is A Patent?
A Patent is a legal right granted over a novel product or process. In return for publishing your product or process, the government grants you a monopoly to exploit that product or process. Once granted, you are permitted to exploit the product or process and stop others from exploiting it.
This includes legally restricting others to replicate, sell or create licenses of your patented idea. In simpler terms, a patent gives you the exclusive right to use your product or process in the industry to the exclusion of others.
In Australia, standard patents are granted for 20 years. This is enough time to grow your business and establish your brand reputation in the market or license it to others to exploit.
How To Commercialise A Patent
Commercialization of a patented invention is not straight forward and applying for a patent and generating income from the invention are two very different things.
A patent protects your idea, but it’s your business and commercialization that generate the income.
The key is to use your business strategies to leverage your patent’s benefits to generate income. A patent is a tool you use in business, but you need to use and exploit that tool to make money.
There are two ways inventors commercialize their inventions:
- They manufacture and sell the new product
- They license the patent to others, for them to outsource the manufacturing/selling or both to a third party and gain royalties on the license.
Alternatively, they can do both options above.
Also, inventors may sell all their rights in the Patent for a one-time payment.
How To Get Your Patent Granted
It takes time to obtain the grant of a patent and results are never guaranteed. However, three essential things to ensure:
- Your invention should be novel
- The patent should be understandable and describe the best method of creating the invention
- The invention must be “patentable subject matter” because the government will not give you a monopoly over just anything.
For further information, we advise contacting your IP lawyers who can give you advice on whether the invention is patentable. If it is, they can work with Patent Attorneys to draft a patent and apply to register your patent with IP Australia.
Patent Types You Can File In Australia
Currently, there are two types of patents in Australia, an Innovation patent and a standard patent. Both types of patents normally start with the filing of a provisional patent application which lasts for 1 year (but is not enforceable). At that one-year point traditionally inventors file a PCT Patent (International Patent Application) and then request that the PCT is granted in countries of interest. Once that is filed in Australia a person can choose for the patent to be an innovation patent or a standard patent.
How To Apply For A Patent
Before you apply for a patent, talk with a Patent Attorney to ensure it is the patentable subject matter and has the patent drafted by the Patent Attorney for patenting your idea. The Patenting process can be complex and lengthy. So, ensure you are comfortable that the Patent Attorney is qualified and do not delay the process.
Some inventors first choose to conduct searches to make sure no one else is using the idea and that the idea is novel. The purpose here is to save time and money so that you do not seek patent protection over an idea that is not novel. Your lawyer or attorney will help you with this.
Typically a patent application includes:
- A title
- Your invention’s description
- Claims (if any)
- Sketches to illustrate the idea
- The inventor and owners name
- An abstract
Once you file a standard or innovation patent application in the above format, it will be examined by IP Australia and IP Australia will issue an examination report. The examination report details the other patents (or prior art) which might be similar to your invention. That starts a conversation with IP Australia where your patent attorney will convince IP Australia that the ideas are not too similar or you amend your patent to overcome the prior art.
Filing a patent can be exhaustive. Do not disclose your idea to the public until you have at least filed a provisional patent application. Make sure you use qualified professionals to assist you in the process.