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Click on the letters below to quickly find the term you’re searching for:

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A brief summary of your invention to help in quickly identifying its key features.

Address for service

The address in Australia where we will send all correspondence to you. This may be a post office box. You must nominate an address in Australia for correspondence, even if your own address is not in Australia. You should notify IP Australia if this address changes.


The person(s) or organisation(s) making the application.

Assignment of rights

This occurs when you sell or bequeath your IP rights to someone else.

Automatic rights

These rights come into effect at the moment of creation. No formal registration is necessary to protect these IP rights. In Australia, copyright and circuit layout rights are automatic rights.

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Basic application

A basic application is the priority document in any country where patent protection is sought in another country. In Australia the basic document is the first filed, whether that is a provisional or complete application. In the case of a convention application made in Australia, the basic document will be the one filed in the foreign country from which the convention application derives its priority.

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Certification mark

A mark used to distinguish goods or services dealt with or provided in the course of trade and certified by the trade mark owner (or by another person approved by the owner) in relation to quality, accuracy or some other characteristic including origin, material or mode of manufacture.

Circuit layout rights

Circuit layout rights automatically protect original layout designs for integrated circuits, and computer chips. While these rights are based on copyright law principles they are a separate, unique form of protection.


Concise written statements that define the invention covered by the patent application. What falls within that definition is protected by the patent-anything outside it, is not protected.


Patents, Trade Marks, Designs and Plant Breeder’s Rights each have an internationally recognised classification system which divides their respective applications into different technology groups, classes of services or goods, or plant varieties. IP Australia uses these classification systems to assist with searching our databases of patents, trade marks, designs and plant varieties.

Classes for patents are determined by the International Patent Classification system; Trade Marks by the NICE International Classification; designs by the Locarno System of Classification; and plant breeder’s rights by the International Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties (UPOV).

Collective mark

A mark used in the course of trade by members of an association. An association is an unincorporated body and includes any organisation of people with a common purpose and a formal structure such as a society, club, trade union or other body.


Commercialisation of intellectual property is simply about planning how you will take your good idea to the marketplace. It involves working the idea into your business plan, consideration of protection options and considering how to market and distribute the finished product.

Complete specification

This is the basis for your patent. It must describe your invention fully, detail the best way of putting your invention into effect and include at least one claim.


Copyright protects the original expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves. It is free and automatically safeguards your original works of art, literature, music, films, broadcasts and computer programs from copying and certain other uses.

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See industrial design.

Divisional application

A divisional application is the dividing of an application into two or more applications. A divisional application is filed when a complete application for an invention has already been filed and you wish to have some of the specification matter in the application covered by a separate patent. The situation typically arises during the examination process if the Commissioner reports that the application is for more than one invention. Divisional applications may retain the priority date of the original application. There are certain time limits within which such divisional applications may be made as well as restrictions on the scope of what can be claimed in relation to the parent specification.

Domain name

A domain name is the unique name that corresponds with an Internet Protocol address. It is both easy and intuitive to remember.

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Industrial design

Design refers to the features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation which can be judged by the eye in finished products. Design registration is for manufactured products and NOT artistic designs. In other words, registered designs protect the way manufactured products look.

Industrial property

Industrial property is a subset of intellectual property, referring to those types of intellectual property that have an industrial application. Specifically, it refers to patents, trade marks, designs, circuit layout rights and plant breeder’s rights.


Infringement occurs when someone willingly or unwillingly uses your intellectual property without your permission.

Innovation patent

An innovation patent is a form of protection available in Australia for comparatively minor innovations and improvements. Protection is available for up to eight years. For suitable subject matter, innovation patents require only novelty and an ‘innovative step’ to be valid.

Intellectual property

Intellectual property represents the property of your mind or intellect. Types of intellectual property include patents, trade marks, designs, confidential information/trade secrets, copyright, circuit layout rights, plant breeder’s rights etc.

International application (patent)

You can file an International Application with the Patent Office of IP Australia under the PCT (Patent Co-operation Treaty). In your application, you should select or designate the countries in which you want a patent.

Inventive step

The inventive step means that the invention is not obvious to someone with knowledge and experience in the technological field of the invention.


Anyone who’s involvement and contribution was essential to the development of the invention.


See intellectual property.

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Letters patent

Instrument issued by a government granting a right or conveying title to a private individual or organisation.

Licensing of rights

Licensing of rights gives the licensee the right to use (but not own) the rights.

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Manner of manufacture

A legal term used to distinguish inventions which are patentable from those which are not. Artistic creations, mathematical methods, plans, schemes or other purely mental processes usually cannot be patented.


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Not publicly disclosed in any form, anywhere in the world.

Nominated person

The person(s) or body corporate that owns the invention.

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Omnibus claim

A special claim that details the preferred form of your invention with reference to the description and/or drawings.

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A patent is a right granted for any device, substance, method or process, which is new, inventive and useful.


PCT stands for Patent Co-operation Treaty. You can file an International Application with the Patent Office of IP Australia under the PCT (Patent Co-operation Treaty). In your application, you should select or designate the countries in which you want a patent.

Plant breeder’s rights

Plant breeder’s rights are used to protect new varieties of plants by giving exclusive commercial rights to market a new variety or its reproductive material.

Priority date

A priority date is established for your invention when you first file a patent application that describes the invention in detail.

This is used to determine if your invention is new. If your invention is known to the public before this date, you are not entitled to patent it.

Provisional application

A provisional application is an interim document in patent actions. It does not form the basis of the grant of the patent but is a document that precedes the complete application upon which the grant is based.

A provisional application establishes a priority date for disclosure of the details of an invention and allows a period of up to 12 months for development and refinement of the invention before the patent claims take their final form in a complete application.

Provisional specification

Used to establish a priority date for your invention. It does not give you patent protection on its own and does not cover you for any subsequent developments or improvements made to your invention. You must file a complete application associated with your provisional application, or file an international application claiming priority from the provisional, within 12 months or you will lose your priority date.

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A few words to describe the general nature of the invention. Should not contain anyone’s name, a fancy name (e.g. ‘The Simplex Wheel’, ‘The Hercules Braces’) a trade name, the word ‘patent’ or the abbreviation ‘etc.’

Trade mark

A trade mark can be a letter, number, word, phrase, sound, smell, shape, logo, picture, aspect of packaging or any combination of these, which is used to distinguish goods and services of one trader from those of another.

Trade secret

A trade secret is both a type of IP and a strategy for protecting your IP. It includes proprietary knowledge (know-how) and other confidential information.

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Your invention should do what you say it will do.

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Our dedicated team can assist you with all matters relating to developing or protecting your Intellectual Property. Complete and submit the Express Enquiry form on the top right hand side of this page and we will contact you to discuss your enquiry or call us on 1300 QUINNS (1300 784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to arrange an appointment.