What kind of inventions can be patent protected?

Patents can be granted for a wide range of inventions including chemical compounds, business methods or everyday utensils. Traditional patents such as materials, textiles and appliances are often used alongside other existing patents such as computer processes or manufacturing methods to create a unique, functioning invention. However other revolutionary patents may include biological inventions such as bacteria and micro-organisms as well as digital and computer processes.

Before applying for a patent, it is important to research whether your invention has already been patented in any country and examine existing patents that may be similar to your invention.

What cannot be patented?

In Australia, despite the wide range of inventions that can be patented, there are a few categories of inventions that are restricted from being patented, including:

  • Human beings and/or the biological processes for their generation;
  • Artistic creation;
  • Mathematical models; and
  • Plans, schemes or other purely mental processes.

Notably, the Commissioner of Patents reserves the power to prohibit publication of inventions involving military aspects in the interest of the defence force which will prevent the patent from being granted.