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Do countries outside Australia have innovation patents?

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

Patent Examiners often object to patent applications on the basis that the invention is obvious. Everything seems obvious in hindsight.

One way to counter this objection is to decrease the inventive step requirement by filing a second tier patent application.

Australia phased out its second tier patent application (called the "innovation" patent application) on 25 August 2021.

However, some other countries still have second tier patents which are typically called "utility model patents". These types of patents usually last for 10 years, rather than 20 years for standard patents (with the higher inventive step grade).

The utility model patent applications could stop any third parties being granted a patent for your invention with a standard patent application.

The countries which offer utility patent applications include:

European countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Denmark, Greece, Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia, Romania.

Asian countries: China, Indonesia, Japan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Viet Nam,

Former USSR countries: Russian Federation, Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan,

Albania, Bulgaria, Armenia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova,

Middle Eastern countries: United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Egypt, Oman.

South American countries: Brazil, Chile, Peru, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Andean Community.

African countries: Ethiopia, Swaziland

English speaking African countries - The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization ARIPO countries (Botswana, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia (not member of the Harare Protocol), the Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe),

French speaking African countries - Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle OAPI countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoros, the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, the Niger, Senegal, and Togo).

Pacific island country: Tonga,

Most countries (including Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Spain, Germany, Austria, Russia, Denmark, and Brazil) allow a standard application to be converted to a utility model application and a utility model application to be converted to a standard patent application.

However, China does not allow conversions. In China, you have to file both a standard application and a utility model application simultaneously, and then withdraw whatever application is not granted.

If you would like assistance with protecting your invention in Australia or overseas, please contact us on +61402519010 or by email at

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