Patent Basics: 5 things you should know







When you’re ready to apply for a patent, it can be beneficial to get advice from an attorney. Australian Patent attorneys are specialists in this area of the law and they will be able to guide you through the requirements for patenting your product and answer any questions that may arise during the process.

In the following article we provide an overview of 5 main questions you may want to consider when pursuing patent protection for your product.  

1. How long does it take to get a patent?

2. What information do you need to provide to get a patent?

3. How much does a patent cost?

4. How long does a patent last in Australia?

5. Can I protect my invention overseas?

1. How long does it take to get a patent?

For one of our attorneys to prepare and file your patent application, the amount of time required typically depends on the amount of information you can provide us with and how complex the invention is. Usually our MBIP attorneys are able to prepare a patent application for you in one to three weeks. Your attorney may be able to prepare the application more quickly in the event of an emergency, such as imminent publication. Although leaving the preparation of your patent application to the last minute is never a good idea!

After lodging the application with the Australian Patent Office (IP Australia), there are several stages the application has to move through before a patent is granted. 

Flowchart of Australian Patent Procedure
Patent Flowchart – CLICK TO ENLARGE

2. What information do you need to provide for a patent application?

In order to assist us in preparing a comprehensive patent application you should provide as much information as possible explaining:

  • the problem that the product/invention seeks to address;
  • why your product/invention is an improvement on earlier attempts to overcome the problem;
  • the differences between the invention and what was done in the past;
  • any variations to your preferred implementation of the invention that you might believe to be viable;
  • a clear description of the invention and of how the invention works to address the problem;
  • how you intend to commercialise the invention; and
  • who the inventor is and, if you’re not the inventor, how you are entitled to the invention from the inventor.

3. How much does a patent cost?

Typicallyto prepare a provisional patent application  the costs will start at around $5000.

The downstream costs for obtaining a patent are usually in the range of 1.5-2.5 times the initial application costs. You should budget approximately $8,500 to $11,000 overall to obtain a granted Australian patent over a period of four years. Costs will be greater if the invention is particularly complex or if difficulties are encountered during examination of the patent application.

Renewal fees are payable for both innovation and standard patents. Find out more on our patent renewals and maintenance page.

4. How long does a patent last in Australia

In Australia, a standard patent can last for up to 20 years. There are some exceptions, for example, an Australian innovation patent only lasts for a maximum of 8 years and the term of a standard patent relating to ‘pharmaceutical substances’ may be extended in certain circumstances.

Due to the global harmonisation of the patent system, largely brought about by trade agreements and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), a 20 year term for a patent is common in most countries.  

5. Can I protect my invention overseas?

Yes. However, protection for an invention must be sought on an individual basis in each country through the country’s patent office. A patent is enforceable only in the country that grants the patent. Thus, an Australian patent is not enforceable in the United States of America, for example.

In most countries it is also necessary to pay ‘renewal’ fees (also commonly known as maintenance fees) periodically in order to maintain protection for a granted patent.

If you have questions about how to patent a product in a specific technology area, we have experience in a wide variety of industries. Our team consists of highly experienced attorneys with degrees in engineering and scientific disciplines, including biology, biochemistry, pharmaceuticals, physics, electrical and mechanical engineering, chemical engineering and materials science and computer science.  

If you have more specific questions about patenting your product feel free to call or email us. We’re here and happy to answer your questions.