“““`Applying for a patent is a guaranteed step to protect your invention. Patents not only stop others from copying and producing your intellectual property but allow you to expand your business. Therefore, before you apply for a patent make sure you’re aware which one is right for you.

What is a patent?

A patent is the legal version of finders keepers. If you have a new, useful and either innovative or inventive design then you can apply for a patent. The patent covers either a device, substance, method or process. The reason for a patent is IP protection. This gives you protection for a limited period of time. An example could be the creation of a new medical product such as a game-changing spinal implant. If you secure a patent then you have the entire right to sell and produce this product while excluding everyone else. A patent also allows you to license your product so other people can create it through a license fee to you.

Kinds of patents

The differences in patents are based upon what countries they apply in, how long they last and if they apply to a particular industry. Furthermore, there are still restrictions on what a business can patent. In the medical industry, a firm can’t patent DNA and gene sequences of human beings. Likewise in a business setting, some schemes and planes can’t be patented either.

Standard patents

The first difference between a standard and innovate patent is that a standard patent requires an inventive step. This is a higher threshold to meet than an innovation patent which requires only an innovative step. The time period is also a big factor. If you have a standard patent then you will have protection for up to 20 years. However, the process can take 6 months to years depending on the complexity. Likewise, the testing and examination are more stringent as to whether the application abides by the Patents Act 1990 (Cth).

Innovation patents

The other patent type is the innovative type. This requires the lower threshold which is an innovative step. The innovation patent will only provide up to 8 years protection which is significantly less than a standard patent. Despite this, the application is faster at around 1 month for a grant and 6 months for an examination. The examination is optional for an innovative patent but mandatory for a standard patent.

International patents

There are two options for an international patent. The first is to apply for a patent in each individual country. This is the cheapest of the two options especially if you only apply to one other country. The alternative is to have a patent cooperation treaty. This is a single application which applies to 152 countries including Australia.

Pharmaceutical patents

A pharmaceutical patent applies for up to 25 years instead of 20 in the case of a standard patent. A pharmaceutical patent is a standard patent, however, there are more requirements to go through in the Patent Act 1990 (Cth) chapter 6 part 3.

Enforcement

If a patent has been breached the first step can be to send a cease and desist letter. There are also intellectual property insurance policies as well that businesses can use. Ultimately if someone has stolen your intellectual property or gone against your rights you can always consult a patent lawyer.

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Justin Pasqualino

Justin is a legal intern at LawPath as part of the content team. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Economics at UTS.