Last updated: 
12 October 2021

If you are thinking about expanding your business overseas, you should consider filing a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application for your invention.

A PCT application will give you a quick indication of whether your invention can be patented. It also allows you to decide which countries you would like to have patent protection in.

A PCT application will go through an examination process according to a set of standards accepted by all the 151 countries which are signatories to the treaty. This makes the process easier if you decide to pursue patent protection in these countries, as a lot of the groundwork has already been done.

If you are wanting to base your PCT application on a provisional application you will need to submit your PCT application within 12 months of filing your provisional.

Other options

You may also consider filing a provisional application or applying for a standard patent directly with us. There are differences in the cost of the patents, the length of protection they offer, the time they take to process and the type of invention they seek to cover.

Provisional applications are inexpensive and give you the earliest possible priority date. A priority date establishes the fact that you are the first person to file a new invention with us. While a provisional application doesn’t provide you with the protection of a full patent, it does give you up to 12 months to consider your options before deciding to proceed with a patent application.

If you want long term protection in Australia for your invention, you may consider applying for a standard patent. It lasts for up to 20 years from the filing date of your application (or up to 25 years for pharmaceutical substances).

More information

Twelve ways to manage global patent costs.