Last updated: 
29 August 2021

Did you know that as a small or medium enterprise (SME) you are able to fast track your standard patent application?

Any prospective or existing patent applicant can request expedited examination at no additional cost, which means your application is examined within 4 to 8 weeks. 

You can request expedited examination if:

  • you are an SME i.e. you have less than 200 employees
  • your invention is in the field of green technology
  • you need a granted patent in order to commercialise or license out your invention
  • you are concerned that you may be infringed.

Currently, it can take more than a year for your examination process to begin. Some applicants are happy to follow the normal process rather than fast-tracking their application because it provides more time to plan the commercialisation and marketing of their invention before committing to greater financial expense.

Should I consider fast-tracking my application?

The choice to fast track will depend on your intellectual property strategy and where you are in your business journey. To make this decision it might be helpful to consider the following factors:

  • When do you need to enforce your patent? Remember, your patent application needs to be examined, accepted and then granted before it can be enforced.
  • Does an investor require your patent to be granted before investing in your invention?
  • Would faster examination help your commercialisation decision? For example, when do you plan to start production or complete market research?
  • Do you need a patent to license your invention to a third party?

If you intend to apply for patents overseas you should also consider the timeframes of the overseas patent office. It can be beneficial to align the timing of your Australian patent with your overseas applications. Similarly, you may find that expedited examination in Australia then gives you the confidence to file overseas.

How do I apply for SME Fast Track?

If you are an SME, you can access SME Fast Track when submitting your patent application via our online services. When applying for your standard patent, simply select 'Full Examination - Expedited' and select 'Commercialisation or SME applicant' as the reason for your expedited examination request.

Other Resources

If you are applying for a patent there are a range of resources available on our website to help you navigate the patent process.