A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a government to an inventor for a limited period of time in exchange for a public disclosure of an invention.
Each country governs its own patent procedures. In Australia, the body responsible for administering patents is IP Australia. A list of international ofiices is provided by WIPO. WIPO's Patentscope can help you to search for patents across multiple languages.
Each patent goes through an application process prior to being granted. When you search for patents, you may find: