As a general rule, the priority date for your invention is the date on which you first filed a patent application that described your invention in detail. To get the earliest possible priority date on your invention, you can file a provisional application.
A provisional application doesn't give you patent protection on its own (there are no 'provisional patents'), but it's useful in establishing an early priority date if you operate in a highly competitive industry where constant innovation requires you to get the jump on competitors.
A provisional application also gives you time to determine whether your invention is worthy of further time, money and effort associated with filing a complete application for a patent. It is also cheaper to file a provisional application than a standard complete application. You can read more information on time and costs.
Although the technical or scientific details of your provisional application are not published, we will publish details (the invention title and applicant name) in the Australian Official Journal of Patents at filing.
If you wish to claim priority from your provisional application you must file a complete standard or innovation application within 12 months of lodging your provisional application.
Remember - filing a provisional application on its own does not give you patent protection
All provisional applications lapse after 12 months. If you do not file a complete application associated with the provisional, or file a PCT application within this 12 month period, you will lose any priority that your provisional application may have provided.
How we can assist you to make a choice
If you have filed a provisional application you can, for a fee, get an International Type Search carried out. This may help you to decide whether you want to pursue patent protection in Australia and/or overseas.
Last Updated: 14/11/2014