Let’s talk about patents in Australia. There are two types of patent granted in Australia: the standard patent and the innovation patent.
Both the forms of patent require that the invention must be new, useful, and involve an innovative step. However, the threshold of the inventive step requirement for the innovation patent is not as high as for the standard patent. It is similar to the so-called utility patents.
Other differences between them are in the cost, the length of protection they offer, the time they take to process and the type of invention they wish to cover. The innovation patent lasts up to eight years and the standard patents cover the patent rights for 20 years from the date of filing.
Since there are no examination requirements for the innovation patent, the innovative patent is granted within a month.
The concept of innovation patent was introduced by the Australian Government in 2001 to create a mechanism for small and medium enterprises to protect their intellectual property at low cost and in quick time. However, in February 2021, IP Australia announced the end of this second-tier patent system in Australia.
In particular, the fall of the innovation patent started in 2016, when Productivity Commission determined that the innovation patent system had not met its intended objective to assist the SMEs, instead it is being used more by large firms to withhold the competition and blocked the SMEs from innovating. Instead of assisting the SMEs, it has disadvantaged them.
The phasing out of the innovation patent by the Australian Government means they have passed legislation that says the last day to file the innovation patent is 25th August 2021.
Okay! So you might be thinking what will happen to existing innovation patents?
Well! Existing innovation patents that were filed on or before 25 August 2021 will continue in force until their expiry. This will ensure current rights holders are not disadvantaged.
The holder can still convert a standard patent application to an innovation patent application provided the standard patent application was filed on or before 25 August 2021.  However, by 26th August 2029, all the innovation patents will have expired. If you are considering filing an innovation patent as a first filing or convention filing then take the action now! Stay tuned for more updates…