The deadline for national phase entry into Australia is 31 months from the earliest priority date (irrespective of whether International Preliminary Examination has been requested).
Applicants must request examination within five years of the application date (international filing date for national phase entries of PCT applications) but examination may be requested voluntarily by the applicant at any time. A Direction to Request Examination is normally issued at between 6 and 30 months after the national phase entry date. Examination must then be requested within 6 months of the date of the Direction.
It is also possible to request modified examination where a corresponding application has been granted in USA, Canada or New Zealand or in any of the countries that are signatories to the European Patent Convention. A certified copy of the corresponding application needs to be filed and the national phase entry needs to be modified such that it conforms to the corresponding foreign application.
Voluntary amendments may be filed once national phase has been entered. Amendments may not result in matter being claimed that was not disclosed at the filing date of the application.
Voluntary amendments may be filed after the patent application has been accepted. However, such amendments must fall within the scope of the claims as accepted.
Annual renewal fees are payable on a standard patent application, commencing on the fourth anniversary of the PCT application filing date. Once granted, annual renewal fees are payable on a standard patent application, commencing on the fourth anniversary of the PCT application filing date for the life of the patent. The maximum term of a standard patent is 20 years. However, a 5 year extension may be granted for pharmaceutical patent applications.