About patents

Two IP Australia staff members reading over a document at their desk

A patent is a right granted for a device, substance, method or process that you have invented that is new, inventive and useful when compared with what is already known.

A patent is legally enforceable. It gives you the exclusive right to commercially exploit your invention for the life of the patent. In exchange, you are required to disclose to the public how your invention works. You do this by filing a patent application that we will publish.

Before you apply, consider:

You have to apply for a patent and meet all legal requirements before it is granted.

Term of the patent from the date of application 

You will be required to pay annual maintenance fees on your patent/patent application otherwise it will lapse and you will not be able to enforce your patent.

Who administers patents?

Applications must be filed with us. We will assess whether your invention meets the legislative requirements such as being new (novel), inventive or innovative and useful.

Don't go public too soon

If you demonstrate, sell or discuss your invention in public before you file, you may not get a patent.

If you want to discuss it with employees or business partners, have them sign a confidentiality agreement.

Last Updated: 03/4/2014

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