A patent is a right granted for any device, substance, method or process which is new, inventive and useful.
A patent is legally enforceable and gives the owner the exclusive right to commercially exploit the invention for the life of the patent. This is not automatic-you must apply for a patent to obtain exclusive rights to exploit your invention.
There are two types of patents in Australia;
- a standard patent gives long-term protection and control over an invention for up to 20 years.
- an innovation patent is a relatively fast, inexpensive protection option, lasting a maximum of 8 years. The innovation patent replaced the petty patent on 24 May 2001.
Patents give effective protection if you have invented new technology that will lead to a product, composition or process with significant long-term commercial gain.
In return, patent applicants must share their know-how by providing a full description of how their invention works. This information becomes public and can provide the basis for further research by others.
Australian patents are administered by the Patent Office of IP Australia, a Federal Government Organisation.
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