Last updated: 
30 May 2016

You can request the examination of your application at any time.

You will need to request examination within five years of filing your application. We will typically direct you to request examination after four years if you haven’t done so already. You must request examination within two months of the date of this direction or within five years of filing your application (whichever is sooner). If you do not request examination in time, your application will lapse.

You can request examination (either voluntarily or after being directed by us) by completing and submitting a request for examination and paying the examination fee.

We will conduct examination within about 12 months of your request.

Your application will be examined mainly based on novelty (is it new?), the presence of an inventive step (is the difference between what is known and your invention an obvious step?) and whether your invention is something that can be patented.

After examination we will send you either:

  • an examination report detailing the reasons we believe your application isn’t valid; or
  •  a notice of acceptance.

If you receive an examination report, you will have the opportunity to make changes to your application to overcome the objections in the report.

Often you can resolve these objections by changing your description or claims.

In response to your changes, subsequent reports may be issued until all objections have been overcome.

Once all objections have been overcome, your application will be accepted.

If you have not overcome all of our objections within 12 months from the date of our first report, your application will lapse.

Timeline of the examination process

Your request for examination must be received within two months of the examination direction or within five years of filing your application (whichever is sooner).

Our examination direction is usually issued to you four years from the earliest priority date.

The examination report will be issued approximately 12 months from requesting examination. You then have the opportunity to address any issues in the report, and work towards application acceptance.

Your application must be accepted within 12 months from the first report date, or the application will lapse.

View our response times. 

Expedited examination

Under certain circumstances, you can request that your application be examined faster than usual. Visit the below pages for more information on: