Trans-Tasman licensing regime for patent attorneys

A single trans-Tasman licensing regime for Australian and New Zealand patent attorneys commences on 24 February 2017.

Key features

The regime consists of:

  • A single trans-Tasman register for patent attorneys administered by the Designated Manager (the Director General of IP Australia);
  • Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board responsible for education and investigating complaints about patent attorneys (formally known as the Professional Standards Board);
  • A Tasman code of conduct setting out minimum standards of professional and ethical conduct for patent attorneys;
  • Annual continuing professional education requirements;
  • A Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Disciplinary Tribunal to hear complaints about the conduct of patent attorneys and, if appropriate, discipline patent attorneys;
  • Offences for unregistered persons to describe, or hold, themselves as patent attorneys or patent agents;
  • Offences for unregistered persons to assist anyone to apply for a patent or provide advice about patents for pecuniary gain;
  • Flexible arrangements for patent attorneys to form mixed partnerships and for firms to incorporate.

Background

In November 2011 Cabinet agreed that the patent attorney profession should be regulated jointly with Australia under a trans-Tasman regime. In March 2013 the Australian and New Zealand Governments signed a bilateral arrangement setting out how the trans-Tasman regime would be implemented under each country’s law.

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