Who we are

Who we are

The role of the Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board (the Board) is to determine:

  • the academic qualifications required to become a patent attorney in Australia and New Zealand, and a trade marks attorney in Australia
  • the knowledge requirements for patent and trade marks attorneys
  • the accreditation of courses for attorneys that satisfy subject requirements under the regulations
  • the exemptions from requirements of a topic group or groups based on prior study for attorneys
  • the professional conduct of patent and trade marks attorneys
  • the disciplinary matters including complaints procedure and the role of the Board in complaints’ proceedings

Strictly speaking, the Board does not actually register patent and trade marks attorneys. That function is the responsibility of the position known as the Designated Manager.

Currently, the position of Designated Manager is held by IP Australia’s Director General Michael Schwager.

The Director General of IP Australia (or their nominee) is an ex-officio member of the Board for as long as they hold this position.

The position of Designated Manager is appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Chair's 2020-2021 Annual Report

The Chair of the TTIPAB is pleased to provide a report on the Board's functions and responsibilities for 2020-2021. The report includes statistics on the applications considered, total number of registration, and more. These statistics show a continuing interest in the IP attorney profession across both Australia and New Zealand.

Read the report here

The Board’s structure

Under the legislation establishing the trans-Tasman patent attorney regime, the Board has been given responsibility for administering the patent attorney professions in both Australia and New Zealand, in addition to the trade marks profession in Australia. The membership of the Board has therefore been expanded to reflect this wider responsibility. The Board consists of 7-10 members (including 2 ex officio members). All members, except the ex officio members, are appointed by the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology. The Patents Act 1990 (Cth) provides for the Board to comprise:

  • A Chair;
  • the Director General of IP Australia;
  • the New Zealand Commissioner of Patents;
  • at least 2 New Zealand patent attorney members; and
  • at least 2 other members.

The other members are usually Australian patent attorneys and/or trade marks attorneys, but they can also be academics, or people experienced in public administration. All appointed members need to have substantial experience or knowledge, and significant standing.

The current Board members are:

Ms Elizabeth Hopkins, Board Chair, NZ

Mr Ian Finch, NZ Patent Attorney member

Mr Carl Harrap, Patent Attorney, NSW

Mr Anthony Alder, Patent and Trade Marks Attorney, NSW

Dr Karin Innes, Patent and Trade Marks  Attorney, VIC

Ms Viet-Chau (Veg) Tran, Special Counsel, NSW

Ms Kate Duckworth, NZ Patent Attorney member

Mr Michael Schwager, (ex-officio) Director-General, IP Australia

Mr Ross van der Schyff, (ex-officio) NZ Commissioner of Patents

Board sub-committees

The Board administers four sub-committees. They are:

  • Qualifications 
  • Exemptions 
  • Discipline
  • Accreditation

The Board may form additional sub-committees as and when required.

The Board Secretariat

The Board Secretariat consists of the Secretary and one administrative assistant.

They are employees of IP Australia and manage attorney registration matters on behalf of the Designated Manager.

Please contact the Secretariat for all Board related queries.

Board meetings 2022

The next Board meeting to consider applications for Board approval is scheduled for November 2022.

The following closing dates apply:

Applications for exemptions from a requirement in Schedule 5 can be received at latest by Friday, September 2022, providing that they are fully complete and correct.

Applications for accreditation of a course of study can be received at latest by Friday, September 2022, providing that they are fully complete and correct.

Applications for approval of academic qualifications can be received at latest by Friday, September 2022, providing they are fully complete and correct.

Completing the required formalities for attorney registration can be complex and time consuming; applicants are encouraged to commence work on their applications early and submit them well before the final due date.

This will allow time for the Secretariat to identify any administrative deficiencies and assist you to correct them before the deadline. Applications that are not fully in order by Friday, September 2022 cannot be submitted to the Board until the following meeting.

The Board Secretariat endeavours to advise candidates of the outcome of all Board decisions within 10 working days of the Board meeting. All correspondence will be sent out electronically to the email address provided on the application form.

Future Board meeting date(s) are currently scheduled for:

November 2022 (TBA)

Closing dates for qualifications, exemptions and accreditation are six weeks prior to the above future Board meeting dates.

*Please note: these dates could change as the current situation with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) develops.

Post-meeting communique

In this communique, we share a brief run-down of matters before the Board at its most recent meeting

November 2021

April 2022