Unlike other countries I’ve written about in the past, the Australian Patent Office website has very straightforward search options: Quick, Structured, and Advanced.
The Australian Quick search is particularly simple in that you can enter various individual criteria and their system displays the intended record(s). I usually have the application number, so I use that as my search criteria.
The Australian website will bring you to a search results page with the requested record(s) and is quite helpful if you are just trying to confirm status, filing date, or title. If you want to see more bibliographic information, click on the hyperlinked application number and the site navigates you to the full record page.
Once on the full record page, there is a wealth of information. I’m going to focus on the sections that I find most helpful. The first two sections, Application Details and Priority Details, are listed under the larger heading of Bibliographic Data. I’m not going to mention each field in these sections, but I do want to point out a few treasures under the Application Details section.
The Patent application type towards the top of the section indicates if the type is a standard or innovation patent. It’s important to know this for patent term and renewal purposes. An innovation patent has a shorter patent term and, thus, fewer, and less costly renewal payments.
The Paid to Date field is for renewals. In the example given, the applicants paid the annuities through 2017-04-18 (YYYY-MM-DD format). This means that, currently, the 2017 annuity has not been paid to extend the Paid to Date to 2018.
Moving further down the section, the Filing Date and Effective Date of Patent fields are present. These dates, along with the Additional/Divisional Application Number information, are helpful for determining family members. This determination is critical for many reasons, but since my focus tends to be on renewals, I use it to decide the correct filing date for renewal date calculations.
For example, notice how the Paid to Date (2017-04-18) and the Filing Date (2012-10-18) have different days and months Yet, whereas the effective date of the patent is 2006-04-18. The renewal date calculation uses the effective date of patent which is the filing date of the earliest Australian parent filing.
To emphasize my point, click on the Divisional Parent number 2006238988 and the website navigates to the parent record where the filing date and effective date is 2006-04-18. Having these dates correct in your docketing and renewals systems is crucial. I recommend making sure everyone that has access to your systems understands what dates are needed in which fields for docketing tasks and renewal calculations
The Priority Details Section includes non-Australian cases that provide basic information around this non-Australian priority case. I find this helpful when trying to determine the full size of a family for file opening or docketing purposes. Note that the non-Australian filing date is not considered when determining the renewal date.
The next section is the larger heading of eDossier. This is a life saver when transferred in cases that don’t have documentation. You can select as many documents as necessary on the far-right column of the check boxes. Once selected, scroll down to the bottom of the documents listing and click on the Retrieve Documents hyperlink.
The Australian patent office has some disclaimers when downloading documents. Some documents may not be viewable within eDossier due to containing sensitive personal information or information that is restricted under copyright or licensing conditions.
Additionally, as a security measure, you may be asked to confirm you are a person. This occurs after you have downloaded a certain number of documents. You will need to complete a validation task before you are able to continue. To summarize, it could be a long work week of document downloading!
Before I wrap up, let me take a minute to point out some similarities to the US system. If you recall my mention of the Effective Date earlier, you’ll see the Expiry Date is also based on that Effective Date. This calculation is similar in the US in that you must consider other non-provisional US patent cases when making an expiration date calculation.
Also, the Additional/Divisional application number listing and the Priority details section remind me of the Continuity Data and Foreign Data tabs, respectively, in a patent record at the USPTO.
Finally, the Associated provisional(s) section at the Australian patent office lists any Australian Provisionals that may be part of the family. I found this incredibly informative to know that Australia has provisional filings similar to the US.
Now you have a few hidden treasures on the Australian patent office website! I’m sure there are more so if you know of any I didn’t mention, please let us know or post on our LinkedIn page. If you found this valuable, we have another post that focuses on how to calculate the deadline for filing a divisional patent application in Australia. Black Hills IP hopes this content becomes a continuous flow of information that the IP community can rely on and act on. We are the leaders in smarter IP data docketing.