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					                 Patents

                 Patents

                 What is a Patent?                               Patent Office at this stage is the title, the   specification. Fees for maintaining the
                                                                 applicant’s name, the application date          application and patent in force must be
                 A patent is a temporary monopoly                and the provisional number.                     paid every year starting from the fifth
                 granted by the government to an inventor                                                        anniversary of the filing of the complete
                 in return for disclosing the invention          A complete specification must be filed
                                                                                                                 specification. Griffith Hack usually refers
                 to the public in a patent specification.        within one year of filing the provisional
                                                                                                                 renewal matters to CPA Global which
                 The monopoly provides the patentee              specification in order to maintain the
                                                                                                                 pays Australian and overseas renewal
                 with the exclusive right to exploit the         priority date. The complete specification
                                                                                                                 fees on behalf of our clients. CPA Global
                 invention in Australia, assuming the            is based on the provisional specification
                                                                                                                 will issue you with reminders, and you
                 invention does not infringe a third party’s     but includes details of any modifications,
                                                                                                                 will need to send them your instructions
                 prior patent or contravene other laws.          developments or improvements to the
                                                                                                                 if you elect to keep your patent in force.
                 Once the monopoly ends, the invention           invention. The complete specification
                 described in the specification becomes          includes a set of “claims” defining             Overseas Protection
                 public property and may be freely used          the scope of protection sought for the
                 by anyone.                                      invention. The monopoly granted under           By virtue of an International Convention,
                                                                 the patent will be determined by the            patent applications lodged in many
                 Confidentiality                                 wording of the claims. Once a complete          overseas countries within one year of
                                                                 specification has been filed, no new            the priority date in that country will be
                 It is essential that an invention is not        matter may be added to the specification.       treated as if they had been lodged on
                 disclosed to anyone before a patent                                                             the priority date, and the novelty of the
                 application is filed. Early disclosure of the   A new patent application number is given
                                                                                                                 invention will be judged accordingly. If
                 invention may reduce the scope of any           by the Patent Office at this stage. The
                                                                                                                 you are thinking of obtaining overseas
                 patent eventually granted or may lead to        entire specification will be published by
                                                                                                                 patent protection you should discuss
                 the patent being invalid. Disclosure may        the Patent Office 18 months after the
                                                                                                                 the various options with us, as early as
                 take place by the spoken word, drawings,        priority date. Damages may be assessed
                                                                                                                 possible.
                 a written description, exhibition, use or       retrospectively to the date of publication
                 sale. Some limited confidential disclosure      in any successful infringement action           Patent Searching
                 may not be damaging, but it is best             which is brought after the patent is
                 to seek advice before disclosing the            granted.                                        Patents provide a vast resource of
                 invention.                                                                                      technical information which can be
                                                                 The Patent Office usually directs
                                                                                                                 searched for a variety of reasons.
                                                                 examination to be requested about one to
                 Applying for Patents in                         two years after the complete specification
                                                                                                                 Examples include checking that a new
                 Australia                                                                                       product does not infringe an earlier
                                                                 is filed. During examination a patent
                                                                                                                 patent, determining whether an
                                                                 Examiner will conduct an international
                 The first step in obtaining a patent                                                            invention is new and patentable, and
                                                                 search for earlier published documents
                 in Australia usually involves filing a                                                          watching developments in a particular
                                                                 to establish whether or not the invention
                 provisional specification at the Patent                                                         class of technology or a competitor’s
                                                                 is novel and inventive. An official report
                 Office. The provisional specification is                                                        activities.
                                                                 is then issued containing details of the
                 a written description of the invention,         search and any other objections raised
                 and filing it establishes a “priority date”                                                     Infringement Searching
                                                                 by the Examiner. Provided the invention
                 for the invention described. The priority       is novel and inventive, objections can          Before launching a new product it is
                 date is the date at which the novelty           usually be overcome by proposing                often prudent to ensure that it will not
                 of the invention will be assessed. The          amendments to the specification, by             infringe an earlier patent. This type of
                 filed application will have priority over       presenting counter arguments, or both.          search can be expensive, so we suggest
                 later-filed applications or published           Once any objections have been overcome,         you discuss your particular requirements
                 documents, and any patent eventually            the application is accepted. Acceptance         with a patent attorney before deciding
                 granted on the same invention will not be       is advertised in the Australian Official        to proceed with an infringement search.
                 damaged by them.                                Journal of Patents to allow interested          If you intend to trade overseas you
                 After the provisional specification has         third parties to oppose the application.        can extend the search to include those
                 been filed, the invention described             If there is no opposition, or an opposition     overseas countries in which you will
                 may be used, provided that your patent          is unsuccessful, the patent is sealed and       trade.
                 attorney is informed of any subsequent          a deed of letters patent is issued. The
                 modifications. The specification is             application becomes a patent at sealing.        For more information about Griffith Hack,
                 kept secret by the Patent Office and                                                            please visit our website:
                                                                 The maximum duration of a patent is 20
                 the only information published by the           years from the filing date of the complete      www.griffithhack.com.au
GH 6042 May 10




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