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SALIENT FEATURES OF AUSTRALIAN PATENT LAW

Absolute novelty
Australian patent law applies a standard of absolute novelty to patent applications filed in Australia. Any disclosure anywhere in the world, whether by acts or by documentary publication, before the priority date of the claim under consideration can destroy the novelty of a claim.

Grace period
Australian patent law allows a 12 month grace period in respect of disclosures by the Applicant. The grace period excuses disclosures by the Applicant carried out within 12 months prior to the date of filing a complete application. However the grace period has limited effect and should only be relied on as a last resort.

Innovation patents
Australian patent law provides for innovation patents, which are a ‘second tier’ form of patent protection requiring a lower level of inventiveness than a standard patent, but having a maximum term of 8 years rather than the 20 years of a standard patent.¬† Innovation patents can be particularly useful for taking action against potential infringers, since they are generally robust against validity challenges.

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