You can apply for patent protection for a range of inventions. These include traditional inventions such as appliances, engineering devices, and mechanical devices.
However you may also protect things such as:
Micro-organisms and other biological materials
What Cannot Be Patented?
You cannot patent human beings or the biological process for their generation, artistic creations, mathematical models, plans, schemes or other purely mental processes.
You can decide whether you need a patent before having to pay any major costs.
Filing a provisional application is quite inexpensive and gives you 12 months to consider the commercial worth of your invention and to resolve issues such as finance and licensing. Then you can decide whether to continue with patent protection.
You can also consider a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application, which allows you to put off the costs of obtaining patents overseas while you decide the countries where you want to have protection for your invention.
Points to Consider
Consider patenting if:
the potential for commercial returns outweighs the time, effort and money required to get and maintain a patent;
the limited monopoly a patent offers would help lessen the risks of IP theft in the markets you are interested in protection;
you have the resources to manage your intellectual property;
a thorough search reveals no other similar technology; and
you own the invention and have kept it a secret.
Do your research and ensure that you:
apply for the appropriate form of protection; and
have the necessary documentation for your patent application.
If You Decide Not to Patent?
Having considered all the issues, you may decide that patenting is not the best option for you and you prefer to keep your invention as a trade secret. In that case you would have to assess the risk of someone discovering your invention through industrial espionage or, if your invention is a product, by reverse engineering.
You also need to consider the consequences of someone else independently developing the same invention.
Another alternative is to openly use and publish details about your invention. This will prevent someone else obtaining a patent for the same thing but could also allow your competitors to freely use your invention for their own benefit.
For a Patent to be successfully granted, IP Australia must examine it and the invention must also:
be novel, meaning the idea of technology cannot exist publicly anywhere else;
be patent eligible subject matter, as some things cannot be patented;
surpass an inventive step test, so that the invention is not obvious, and
have a specific, substantial and credible use;
An Australian patent holder can exclude anyone from using the patented technology in Australia.
This exclusion can apply to manufacturing, as well as selling that technology, and any commercial activity around the technology.
For more information on Patent Protection and IP rights generally Contract Sweeny Legal on
02 4228 1864 or 0417 699 645