Under certain situations, you can request that your application for a standard patent can be processed faster than usual. This is known as expedited examination.
Currently it can take more than a year from the submission of an examination request for the examination process to begin. Accelerating the examination process potentially reduces the waiting time to between four and eight weeks.
Expedited examination can be helpful if:
- you are seeking to enforce patent rights
- an investor requires a granted patent before investing in your invention.
You can request expedited examination after you have filed your patent application. You will need to explain why your application is eligible for faster processing.
Eligibility for expedited examination will depend on the circumstances of the case in question.
Some reasons your invention may qualify for expedited examination include:
- it is in the field of ‘green technology’
- the claims of your invention have been found acceptable by certain patent offices (this process is known as the Global Patent Prosecution Highway [GPPH])
- commercialisation considerations
- infringement proceedings
- licensing reasons
- if you are a small-to-medium enterprise (SME) you might also be eligible to fast-track your examination.
Unless requesting expedited examination using the GPPH program, you must provide reasons for why you want expedited examination.
Expedited examination is the same price as a normal examination request. You can still request expedited examination if you have already filed your request for examination. There is no additional cost associated with expedited examination.
You need to be careful about expediting an examination. Early examination and grant of a patent can have unexpected results. For example, if your application has already been granted in Australia, it may limit your ability when applying for a patent in other countries.
Many applicants are happy to proceed to examination using the normal process because it provides them with time to develop and plan the commercialisation and marketing of their invention before committing to a greater financial expense.
When granted, your patent rights can be enforced from the publication date of your complete application (normally 18 months from your application’s earliest priority date).
Climate change and its global impact is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. We know that technology and innovation play a key role in our ability to manage it effectively.
We are helping green innovators find a fast track to the marketplace by offering priority to environmentally friendly technologies in the patent application system.
This initiative offers environmentally-beneficial inventions a way to reach consumers quickly.
If you have a patent application that has been allowed in another country, you may qualify to have your corresponding application in Australia examined quickly.
The Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH) is an agreement between 25 patent offices around the world, the Nordic Patent Institute and the Visegrad Patent Institute (VPI).
The patent offices in the following countries participate in the GPPH agreement:
18. South Korea
20. United Kingdom
21. United States of America
22. New Zealand
If you receive a ruling from one of the participating patent offices that at least one claim in your application is allowable, you can ask another participating office to fast track the examination of your corresponding application.
Work carried out under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is also included. In this instance, you can request accelerated examination based on a written opinion or examination report for a corresponding PCT application. The opinion or examination report must be prepared by one of the participating national offices, and indicate that at least one claim has novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability.
The GPPH program is not a mechanism for requesting expedited examination of an Australian application where we also processed the PCT application. Instead you should consider the normal request for expedited examination: for green technology or commercialisation considerations.
Overseas applications can be based on an application first filed in a country not included in the agreement, provided that both the Australian and overseas applications have the same priority date.
We will continue to evaluate the results of the GPPH program with the participating offices to determine how the program will proceed in the future.
Global Patent Prosecution Highway requests in Australia
- GPPH – Requirements and procedures (PDF)
- GPPH – Requirements and procedures (DOC)
- Apply for examination under GPPH using online services
- GPPH request form
Global Patent Prosecution Highway requests overseas
If you are thinking of taking advantage of the GPPH when filing patent applications overseas, more information is available on the websites of the participating patent offices.
Additional information on the GPPH agreement is also available from the portal hosted by the Japanese Patent Office.