Innovation patents are unique to Australia and allow for the protection of inventions which are typically incremental type improvements over the prior art. Similarly to a standard complete patent, an innovation patent requires the claimed invention to be novel. However, unlike a standard patent, an innovation patent requires only an innovative step rather than an inventive step.
An innovative step requires the invention to make a substantial contribution to the way the invention works. In practice, it has been found that this substantial contribution may be a relatively minor incremental improvement over the prior art. However, like inventive step, innovative step may be quite subjective and we are happy to discuss innovative step in further detail with you.
As the “inventiveness” threshold for an innovation patent is less than that for a standard patent, an innovation patent has a reduced patent term of only 8 years.
Also, unlike a standard patent, an innovation patent is not required to undergo a substantive examination before being granted. This allows an innovation patent application to proceed through the Patent Office relatively rapidly in comparison to a standard patent application. However, it is important to note that a granted innovation patent is required to be certified by way of examination before an innovation patent can be legally enforced.
There are a few more interesting aspects of innovation patents and we are happy to discuss these with you.