The Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board regulates IP attorneys in Australia and New Zealand.
The Board's role
The Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board is an independent body established by the Australian and New Zealand governments to regulate the trade marks attorney profession in Australia, and the patent attorney profession in New Zealand.
It is established under section 227A of the Patents Act 1990 and constituted under the Patents Regulations 1991.
- Sets academic qualifications for patent and trade marks attorneys
- Determines whether applicants meet knowledge requirements
- Sets guidelines for continuing professional education
- Ensures expected standards of professional conduct are maintained
- Conducts disciplinary matters, including investigating complaints and starting proceedings before the disciplinary tribunal
- Accredits university courses for knowledge requirements.
The Board's structure
The Board consists of seven to ten members. All members, except ex-officio members, are appointed by the Australian Minister for Industry and Science in consultation with the New Zealand Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
The Board includes:
- A chair
- The Director General of IP Australia (ex-officio member)
- The New Zealand Commissioner of Patents (ex-officio member)
- At least two New Zealand patent attorney members
- At least two other members.
The other members are usually registered attorneys. They can also be academics or people experienced in public administration. All appointed members need to have substantial standing, experience or knowledge in a field relevant to the Board's functions.
The current Board
The current Board members are:
- Elizabeth Hopkins, Chair, NZ
- Michael Schwager, (ex-offico), Director General IP Australia
- Ross van der Schyff, (ex-offico), NZ Commissioner of Patents
- Ian Finch, patent attorney, NZ
- Kate Duckworth, patent attorney, NZ
- Anthony Alder, patent and trade marks attorney, NSW
- Carl Harrap, patent attorney, NSW
- Dr Karin Innes, patent and trade marks attorney, VIC
- Viet-Chau (Veg) Tran, special counsel, NSW.
The designated manager
The designated manager is responsible for trade marks and patent attorneys registration.
- Maintaining the patent attorney and trade marks attorney registers
- Registering patent attorneys, trade marks attorneys and incorporated patent and trade marks attorneys
- Renewing registrations
- Assessing attorneys' continuing professional education (CPE)
- Removing attorneys who do not meet the requirements for maintaining registration.
IP Australia’s Director General, Michael Schwager, is the designated manager.
The Board and designated manager are assisted by a secretariat team, which consists of the secretary and administrative assistants.
The secretariat are employees of IP Australia. They manage attorney registration, renewals and audit matters on behalf of the designated manager and support the Board in carrying out its functions.
The secretariat can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for all Board related queries.
Board meetings and applications
The Board usually meets three times per year to consider applications, disciplinary matters and strategic matters affecting the IP attorney profession.
Attorney applicants will be advised of the outcome of all Board decisions within 15 working days of the Board meeting via email.
Meeting dates and cut offs
The due date of the following applications requiring Board approval are due 6 weeks prior (21 October 2022) to the next Board meeting:
- Approval of academic qualifications
- Exemptions for knowledge requirements
- Accreditation of a course of study
- Restoration in other circumstances
- Statements of skill from the Board.
Applications for Board approval can be complex and time consuming. Applicants are encouraged to start their applications early and submit them well before the final due date. This gives us time to conduct a preliminary review and identify any additional information you will need to provide.
Future meeting dates:
- 5 & 6 December 2022
- March 2023 (TBC)
Closing dates for applications are at least six weeks prior to each meeting.
After each meeting, the Board publishes a brief summary of the matters considered and relevant updates for the profession. The latest summaries include:
Every year the Board's chair provides a report on the Board's functions and responsibilities, including statistics on the applications considered and total number of registrations.