What is the difference between an innovation patent and a standard patent?

In Australia you can choose to protect your product, process or invention by an innovation patent or a standard patent.

Phase out of the innovation patent

The Australian Government has passed legislative amendments which seek to phase out innovation patents; this means:

  • The last day you can file a new innovation patent will be 25 August 2021.
  • 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 main differences between the innovation patent and the standard patent are:

FeatureInnovation patentStandard patent
How long does the patent last (if annual renewal fees are paid)? 8 years 20 years (or 25 years for pharmaceutical patents)
How long does it take to get? Approximately 1 month Approximately 6 months, to several years
How much does it cost?

Compared to a standard patent, it is relatively inexpensive.

Visit IP Australia for more information. If you engage a patent attorney, ask about the patent attorney's fees as well.

Visit IP Australia for more information. If you engage a patent attorney, ask about the patent attorney's fees as well.
What requirements does the product, process or invention need to meet? Be new, useful, and involve an innovative step, which is a less onerous requirement than the inventive step required for a standard patent Be new, useful, and involve an inventive step, that is, that the invention must be 'non-obvious'.
After the patent is granted, can the patent owner enforce the patent against infringers? No. If the owner of an innovation patent seeks to enforce it against an infringer, the patent first has to be examined (i.e. investigated to ensure that it meets all the requirements for a patent). Yes.
Is the patent examined? That is, does IP Australia investigate whether all the tests for a patent to be granted have been met? Not before the patent is granted.
Examination typically does not occur unless the patent owner requests examination, which the patent owner would normally not do unless the patent was relied upon to commence legal proceedings against an infringer.
Yes, examination is mandatory.
When would a patent applicant consider this type of patent?
  1. When the product, process or invention had a short product life cycle of up to 8 years.
  2. When the invention does not meet the inventive step requirement, but does meet the innovative step requirement.
  1. When the product, process or invention had a longer product life cycle of up to 20 years.
  2. When you seek an investor to invest in your innovation, who requires robust patent protection.
What are the drawbacks to this type of patent? As this type of patent is not usually examined, it is not as valuable as a standard patent. Its value may be improved by requesting examination, but as the duration of the patent is 8 years instead of 20, it will always have a lesser value. The process of applying for and having a standard patent examined can take 2 to 6 years, or sometimes longer.