A standard patent gives you long-term protection and control over an invention. It lasts for up to 20 years from the filing date of your application (or up to 25 years for pharmaceutical substances).
The invention claimed in a standard patent must be:
- involve an inventive step
- be able to be made or used in an industry.
Your invention must differ in some way from existing technology. This difference must be something more than the simple application of published information or standard background knowledge.
Depending on the circumstances, examination can take from six months up to several years.
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If you want protection for an invention with a short market life that might be superseded by newer innovations, you may consider applying for an innovation patent.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, and protection lasts for eight years.
If you are thinking about expanding your business overseas, you can consider 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 protection in.