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New products, processes and inventions (including patents)

1. What is a patent? A patent is granted to the owner of a new product process or invention that was not previously known.
2. What rights does a patent give me? A patent confers upon the patent holder the right to stop others using the patented product, process or invention in the country in which the patent is granted.
3. Does a patent need to be registered? Yes.
4. Does a patent operate 'worldwide'? No. A separate patent needs to be sought and registered in each country where the right to realise economic benefits from the product, process or invention is sought.
5. How long does a patent last? Standard patent - 20 years from the date of application for the patent. (Up to 25 years for pharmaceuticals.)
Innovation patent - 8 years from the date of application for the patent.
6. How can I find out if my new product, process or invention has already been patented? Search the AusPat database on IP Australia's website.
7. Can I start to sell my product, process or invention to see if it is worthwhile to patent it? After you have filed you patent application, yes. If you do so before filing the application, your product, process or invention is no longer new, and no longer eligible to be patented. But be aware that selling your product after filing your patent application will remove your options in relation to the lapsing of a provisional application.
8. Can I exhibit or show my new product, process or invention to a trade show to see if there is enough interest to justify patenting it? After you have filed you patent application, yes. If you do so before filing the application, your product, process or invention is no longer new, and no longer eligible to be patented.
9. Can I show my product, process or invention to a potential investor to see if it's worthwhile to patent it? After you have filed your patent application, yes. If you do so before filing the application, you must first have a confidentiality agreement in place, otherwise your product, process or invention is no longer new, and no longer eligible to be patented.
10. Can I show my product, process or invention to a potential licensee to see if it is worthwhile to patent it? After you have filed your patent application, yes. If you do so before filing the application, you must first have a confidentiality agreement in place, otherwise your product, process or invention is no longer new, and no longer eligible to be patented.
11. How do I make an application to register a patent? You can file the application online or download an application form from IP Australia's website. You can also engage a patent attorney to file the application for you.
12. How do I indicate on my product that a patent is pending and how does it help me? You can show 'patent pending' on your product. This notifies the public that the item upon which it appears is the subject of a pending patent application. It puts a potential 'copycat' on notice that the patent holder, once the patent is granted, may commence infringement proceedings against the 'copycat'.
13. How do I indicate on my product that a patent is granted and how does it help me? You can show 'patent [followed by its number]' on your product. This notifies the public that the item upon which it appears is patented. It puts a potential 'copycat' on notice that the patent holder may commence infringement proceedings against the copycat.