Before you apply
If you have developed a new product or process, the issue of patenting should be considered as an integral part of your overall business strategy, together with factors such as profit potential, finance, production and marketing.
The patent system is structured to enable you to make this decision before the major costs of patenting are encountered.
For example, filing a provisional application is quite inexpensive and it gives you 12 months to consider the commercial worth of your invention and to resolve issues such as finance and licensing. You will then be in a better position to decide whether further effort in pursuing patent protection is worthwhile.
Similarly, you can file a PCT application, which gives you a quick indication of whether your invention can be patented. There is then time for you to decide which allows you to put off the costs of obtaining patents overseas, while you decide the countries where you want to have protection for your invention.
Who can apply?
Only the person who owns an invention can be given a patent for it. The patent can be owned by:
- the inventor(s)
- the person who has legally obtained rights to the invention from the inventor(s) or an intermediary
- an employer of someone who made the invention in the course of their normal duties.
Although a 'person' is mentioned above, a company or organisation can also be granted a patent, but not a firm or partnership. The partners in the firm or partnership can, however, obtain a patent jointly in their own names.
To be eligible to apply for a patent you must be able to prove you are the actual inventor or that you have entitlement from the actual inventor(s).
You must provide an Australian address for legal service and an address for correspondence (which does not have to be in Australia).
Seek professional help
Similar arrangements apply in some other countries and for specific assistance and advice you can contact an IP professional.
Last Updated: 21/10/2014