Examination of an Australian standard patent application must be requested in Australia within the earliest of five years of the filing date of the complete patent application, i.e. for national phase entries within five years of the international filing date, and within two months of the Australian Patents Office issuing a Direction to Request Examination.
It is IP Australia (i.e. the Australian Patent Office’s) policy to issue a Direction to Request Examination on all standard Australian patent applications, including national phase entry applications, before the five year deadline.
Depending on the workload in the particular examining division, a Direction to Request examination usually issues within about eighteen months of national phase entry.
Once the Direction to Request Examination has issued the patent applicant has two months within which to lodge a Request for Examination.
After lodging the request for examination, which may be a request for expedited examination, the Examiner will perform an examination and either accept the application or issue an examination report.
If an examination report issues then the applicant will have twelve months from the date of the first report to reply and overcome the grounds for objection. For example, a response may include a request to amend the claims and/or arguments in support of the application.
If a second, or subsequent, examination report issues then the deadline for placing the application in a state for acceptance remains twelve months from the date of issuance of the first examination report.