Steps to protect an idea with a patent
There are four steps to granting a patent:
- You submit an application
- We examine your application
- We accept eligible applications and advertise them
- If no-one contests your application, we grant it.
From start to finish, the process will take at least six months, or in some circumstances, up to several years.
There are two types of patent applications:
1. A provisional application, used for provisional patents, gives you the earliest possible priority date and signals your intention to lodge a complete application in the near future.
2. A complete application, used for standard patents, starts the formal process to have the patent granted.
Cost depends on the type of application you apply for — see below.
Provisional patent application fees
A provisional patent application costs a minimum of $110. To check if your patent hasn't already been protected overseas, you can opt for an international-type search request for $950.
|Provisional patent application||$110|
|International-type search request (optional)||$950|
Standard patent application fees
A standard patent application costs a minimum of $370.
|Standard patent application||$370|
A preliminary search and opinion (PSO) is suitable for anyone who wants an early indication of their invention's patentability prior to examination. It doesn't replace formal examination or act as a binding determination of your application's validity. This is an optional step.
Note that once you request examination, you can no longer request an optional preliminary search and opinion (PSO).
|Preliminary search and opinion (PSO) (optional)||$950|
Postal application fees
If you can't submit your application online, you can post it to us. Please note, higher fees apply.
|Provisional patent application||$210|
|Standard patent application||$570|
Extension of time
Many stages in the application process have deadlines. If you miss a deadline, or think that you need more time, you may be eligible to request an extension of time.
The cost will depend on the circumstances. Please note the following fees are charged by us. If you have an attorney acting on your behalf, you may be liable for additional legal fees.
|Error or omission by the person concerned or by their agent||$100 per month or part of month that the extension is sought for|
|Circumstances beyond the control of the person concerned||$100|
|Circumstances where due care has been taken||$100 per month or part of month that the extension is sought for|
Your standard patent application must be examined by us before you can enforce your rights. If there are no issues with your application, it will progress to the 'acceptance' step. If your application doesn't meet the requirements, we'll send you a report explaining the issues.
In some cases, you may be able to fix your application. You won't need to pay a fee to make amendments that have been requested by us.
Examination of a patent costs a minimum of $490.
A re-examination can be requested by a third party if they believe that your patent infringes on their IP.
Voluntary amendments to your application
You'll need to pay a fee if you decide to make amendments to your standard patent application before examination.
There isn't a fee for voluntary amendments made to provisional applications.
|Amend standard patent specification before examination||$250|
Timeframe to request examination
You have up to five years from your filing date to request examination and pay the associated fee.
If it's been close to five years since you applied and you still haven't requested examination, we'll send you a reminder. You'll have two months from the date of the reminder to request examination. If you don't request examination or fail to pay the fee, your application will lapse.
Expected wait times
Usually, it takes around 12 months for us to examine your application from the date you request examination. This time generally depends on the demand for our services. The table below outlines our current wait times.
In some circumstances, you can request speedier examination of your application. This reduces the waiting time to between four and eight weeks. You won't need to pay a fee for this, but you'll need to explain why your application is eligible for faster processing.
Current timeframes for examination (as of 8 September 2023) are detailed below. We update this information monthly.
|Application type||Current response times||We're currently examining applications filed in|
|CHEM 1 - Biotechnology||19 months||January 2022|
|CHEM 2 - Chemical compounds||20 months||December 2021|
|CHEM 3 - Bio-therapeutics||25 months||July 2021|
|CHEM 4 - Polymers and applied chemistry||12 months||August 2022|
|CHEM 5 - Pharmaceuticals||16 months||April 2022|
|ELEC 1 - Physics||10 months||October 2022|
|ELEC 2 - Electronics and communications||9 months||November 2022|
|ELEC 3 - Computing||9 months||November 2022|
|ELEC 4 - Data processing and measurements||10 months||October 2022|
|MECH 1 - Mechanical engineering||14 months||June 2022|
|MECH 2 - Construction and mining||13 months||July 2022|
|MECH 3 - Process engineering||10 months||October 2022|
|MECH 4 - Medical devices||12 months||August 2022|
|MECH 5 - Packaging and appliances||13 months||July 2022|
Request a refund or waiver
Under limited circumstances we may issue a refund or waive fees.
If your application passes examination, we'll email your online services inbox to let you know.
We'll publish a notice of acceptance in the Australian Journal of Patents (AOJP). Third parties will then have three months from when the notice is published to oppose grant of your application.
Once your application has been accepted, you'll need to pay a fee.
If the specification contains more than 20 claims, you'll need to pay an additional fee per claim as well as the baseline specification fee.
|Standard patent acceptance (mandatory)||$250|
|If the specification contains up to 20 claims at acceptance (mandatory||$250|
|If the specification contains 21 to 30 claims at acceptance||$125 per claim|
|If the specification contains 31 or more claims at acceptance||$250 per claim|
Voluntary amendments to your application
|Amend standard patent specification after acceptance||$250|
|Increase claims in the complete specification to total over 20 claims||$250 per claim|
If your patent isn't opposed, or if you overcome oppositions, we'll grant it and update its status in the Australian Official Journal of Patents (AOJP) and the AusPat search.
The granting of a patent provides 20 years' protection for standard patents or 25 years for pharmaceutical patents from the filing date, provided that renewal fees are paid. Once registered, it's your responsibility to manage and maintain your patent. There may be costs associated with this.
In some instances, a third party may ask us to re-examine your patent application. You may also request a re-examination of someone else's examination. The re-examination fee will be charged to the party that made the request.
Costs of documents and certificates
You can order photocopies, certified copies or duplicates of documents through online services.
If you need your documents urgently, we can expedite postage. Please note, this only speeds up the postage time, not our processing time for your request.
|Copy of 1-3 documents from the same file||$50 per document|
|Copy of 4+ documents from the same file||$200|
|Expedited post||$20 per document request|
You can also order a commemorative certificate for display purposes from a third party. The cost starts at $80 (+ GST). Commemorate certificates aren't legal documents and don't replace your official certificate.
Need help with your patent application?
If you're a small to medium business, you could be eligible to use our free patent case manager service.
If you'd like legal advice or hands-on help with your application, you should consider engaging a patent attorney.