If you've developed a device, substance, method or process which is new, inventive and useful, a patent can be the best way to protect it.
A patent is legally enforceable and gives you the exclusive right to commercially exploit your invention for the life of the patent. The only creations that can't be patented are artistic creations, mathematical models, plans, schemes or mental processes.
Once you've applied for a patent, the application is assessed against the necessary legal requirements.
There are two types of patents in Australia:
1. standard patents
2. innovation patents.
Standard patents provide long term protection and control over an invention for up to 20 years from the day you file your complete application. Standard patents are normally processed within 14 months.
Innovation patents are particularly useful for small to medium sized businesses seeking a first-to-market advantage over competitors. They're designed to protect creations that are innovative ideas or creations, but may not necessarily be new inventions.
This patent protects the idea for up to eight years and is generally granted within one month. Innovation patents don't allow you to legally stop others from copying your innovation unless you have your innovation patent examined.