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Have you discovered a new use for your existing patented product?

Even Apple's Siri application didn't have the full IP protection it needed at first.

If you're in the business of inventing and selling new products, you might occasionally come across a situation where you discover a new use for something you've already finished creating and patenting. This can be problematic because patents are specific – they usually spell out not only what your product is, but what it does and how it's used. If those parameters change, your patent might need to be modified accordingly.

Amending your patent is doable, but it certainly helps to have skilled lawyers on your side.

This might sound like a major challenge, but it's not so bad in reality. Amending your patent is doable, but it certainly helps to have skilled lawyers on your side who can walk you through the process and address any issues as they come up.

A prime example from Apple

If you want to amend the ways your product can be used, you'll probably need a new patent application under patent law in Australia. No one is immune to this. For example, according to Patently Apple, even Apple has had to get new IP protection when marketing Siri as a product for home automation.

The iOS helper application has already been popular for years, but when presenting it as a home automation system, Apple had to patent an entirely new set of uses for it. For example, a user can now tell Siri to open a door, and it will know which door based on GPS data showing where the person is located. New functions demand new patents.

Do you need to add to your patent?

You might not have a product as popular as Siri, but the principle holds true – if you're re-marketing an existing product, intellectual property law in Australia will probably require that you re-patent it. IP Australia recommends considering a patent of addition for this process. Rather than writing a patent application entirely from scratch, you can add on to your existing one.

Do you need to add on to your existing patent?
Do you need to add on to your existing patent?

A patent of addition should identify the main invention, describe its past uses and specify how the new patent is different from the old one. This way, you'll have the full extent of the IP protection you need.

Get the legal help you require

Applying for a patent is rarely easy – even if you've been through the process before, it's still a complicated one. That's why it's advisable to get help from a patent attorney in Sydney who knows how to navigate it all.

At Alder IP, we have a team of experts who are happy to lend you a hand. We provide guidance on all sorts of patent applications and ensure that you're getting the best possible IP protection for your products. Talk to us today if you have any needs at all.