Prior Art Information

Date Published

Note: The information in this part only applies to:

•  standard patent applications with an examination request filed before 15 April 2013.  
•  innovation patents with an examination request filed before 15 April 2013.
•  innovation patents where the Commissioner decided before 15 April 2013 to examine the patent.

For all other standard patent applications/innovation patents, see Prior Art Information.

When considering the novelty of a claim of a standard patent application or an innovation patent, the relevant prior art information is defined in schedule 1.  For the purposes of examination, the prior art is restricted to the following:

  • information in a document that is publicly available before the priority date, whether in or out of the "patent area" (i.e. Australia, Australian continental shelf, etc - see schedule 1); and

  • information contained in certain Australian patent specifications published after the priority date of the claim under consideration (see 2.4.11 "Whole of Contents").  

There is no time limit operating to exclude a document from consideration because it is 'too old'. This is in contrast to the '50 year rule' formerly provided by sec 158 of the 1952 Act.

Note: During the examination of an application for a standard patent, or examination of an innovation patent, information made publicly available only through doing an act is to be disregarded (sec 45(1A), sec 48(1A) and sec101B(3)).  "Doing an act" includes making an oral disclosure.