Last updated: 
14 December 2017

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

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If you want protection in Australia for an invention with a short market life that might be superseded by newer innovations, you may consider applying for an innovation patent. The examination process is often faster than a standard patent application, and protection lasts for eight years. (The innovation patent is being phased out, learn more).

If you want long term protection in Australia for your invention, you may consider applying for a standard patent. The examination process is often longer than an innovation patent application, however protection lasts for up to 20 years.

More information

Twelve ways to manage global patent costs.