Australian Innovation Patents

Overview of Innovation patents

Australian utility model patents are uniquely termed “innovation patents”. While an Australian innovation patent is considered a second tier Australian patent because of the lower threshold of patentability required for certification, it can be a powerful tool in patent litigation. The advantages and disadvantages of an innovation patent when compared to a standard patent are discussed below.

Innovation patent filing requirements

Please click on the link for Australian innovation patent filing requirements.

Benefits of Innovation patents compared to standard Australian patents

The benefits of an innovation patent include:

Fast processing to patent grant

Innovation patent grant is often achieved in less than 8 weeks. This is because Innovation patents are not subject to a pre-grant substantive patent examination (they are however subjected to a formalities examination).

Lower patentability requirements

The requirements for grant of an Innovation patent are more easily met than for a standard patent. Specifically, the claims of innovation patents do not require an inventive step over the prior art. In place of this requirement is the requirement that innovation patent claims include an innovative step, although this requirement is readily met by the innovation in question making a substantial contribution to the working of the product or process. Since obviousness is not a legitimate argument for invalidity, innovation patents are difficult to invalidate.

Innovation patents as a patent litigation tool

Since innovation patents are relatively fast to obtain and difficult to invalidate, they are an ideal vehicle for Australia patent litigation.

Patent protection for incremental enhancements to products and processes

As innovation patents are subject to a lower threshold for patentability, they are particularly useful in protecting progressive enhancements to products and processes that may be obvious and therefore cannot be protected by a standard patent.

Disadvantages of Innovation patents compared to standard Australian patents

Innovation patents have a patent term of only 8 years

Innovation patents are limited to 5 patent claims (although all claims may be independent claims).