What is an Innovation Patent? What is it used for?
An innovation patent is ideal for inventions that have short market lives because it provides fast protection that lasts up to eight years from the date of filing your application.
An invention is deemed eligible for innovation patent if:
It involves novelty
It has not been publicly disclosed anywhere else in the world before the date of filing by anyone else or within 12 months of self-disclosure.
It involves an innovative step.
It is different from other types of technology, and its difference substantially contributes to the working of the invention.
Why is the innovation patent going away?
The Australian government decided to take away the innovation patent as part of the government’s commitment to ensuring that the nation’s IP system meets the needs of Australian SMEs. The government realised that over time, the innovation patent had not met its intended objective. Instead of incentivising research and development, it was allowing big businesses to block SMEs from innovating. Some of the challenges of the innovation patent are:
Big businesses and large firms used innovation patents to stifle competition strategically.
Once an innovation patent application has undergone a certification process by the Commissioner of Patents, it automatically protects its targeted innovation. As a result of this, big businesses began to use innovation patents to create patent thickets. A patent thicket is a series of innovation patents filed by a firm to surround an SME’s product. By employing this tactic, the large firm ensures that its smaller competitor does not have the freedom to operate and thus compete with them.
There was a scarcity of genuine innovation and competition.
Because of the ease with which an innovation patent can be obtained, SMEs did not have much freedom to operate, thus eroding their confidence and investment in innovation.
Australian innovators began to face risks in overseas markets.
Innovation patents are only valid in Australia and are not recognised overseas. Thus, they don't protect a business looking to enter international markets, a standard application is generally needed for that. Also, because the details of innovation patents are usually made public early, inventions that are subject to innovation patents could have been exposed to earlier publication than planned for international purposes.
Because of these challenges, the Australian government began an 18-month phasing out of the innovation patent, which started in February 2020 and will end on August 25th, 2021.
What if I already have an innovation patent?
If you already have an innovation patent, your patent will continue in force until it expires. Also, your application will proceed as usual if you file an innovation patent on or before August 25th, 2021.
Other things to note:
If you want to file a divisional innovation patent application after August 25th, you can file it provided that you have filed the parent application on or before August 25th, 2021.
Suppose you want to convert a standard patent application to an innovation patent application. In that case, you can do this as well, provided you have already filed the standard patent application on or before August 25th, 2021.
If you are considering filing an innovation patent, you would be best served to file it as quickly as possible, as there will be no extension for late filings. Let BONDiP help you apply for your innovation patent before it phases out on August 25th, 2021. To this end, reach out to our offices today to get the ball rolling on your innovation patent.