A patent provides a monopoly in the exploitation of an invention, which may include but is not limited to any device, machine, substance, composition of matter, biological material (not including human beings or means of their reproduction), method or process, which is new, inventive and useful.
A patent can be legally enforceable and gives the owner exclusive statutory rights to prevent others from exploiting the invention; authorise others to exploit the invention and; dispose of some or all of the patent rights for the life (term) of the patent. Patent protection is not automatic and in most countries you have to apply for a patent and have it successfully pass through an examination process to ensure it meets the necessary legal requirements for granting a patent. It is important to note that, even after grant, a patent is not automatically deemed to be valid and enforceable. Moreover, a patent does not provide immunity from infringing any other rights of another party.
Generally a patent cannot be granted for an invention unless it satisfies various legislative criteria. Amongst other things, the criteria requires that the invention is:
- Inventive – Not obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the relevant technical field at the time of filing the first patent application;
- Novel – New and ‘unique’ in the sense that no prior art or technology publicly discloses all the features of the claimed invention.
There is no such thing as a ‘world patent’ because the laws for patenting differ from country to country. However, there is an international process for applying simultaneously for patents in most countries. We can directly attend to Australian, New Zealand and international patent applications. .smoorenburg. can also pursue patent protection for your invention in specific individual countries through our extensive network of IP associates worldwide.
In Australia, patent protection is provided under the Patents Act 1990. There are two types of patents in Australia — ‘standard’ patents and ‘innovation’ patents. A standard patent gives protection for up to 20 years or, in the case of certain pharmaceuticals, up to 25 years. An innovation patent, when Certified, gives protection for up to 8 years and requires that the invention has an innovative step (instead of the inventive step required in the case of standard patents). While other countries typically have protection analogous to the standard patent, protection analogous to innovation patents is not universal.
.smoorenburg. can also arrange patent searches in Australia and New Zealand or other countries through our network of associates. Patent searches are usually directed to providing information regarding (a) the state of the art in a particular technology, (b) the possibility of infringing another party’s patent, or (c) the novelty of a new invention.