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.
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
The Board administers four sub-committees. They are:
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 2020
The next Board meeting to consider applications for Board approval will be held on
26 & 27 March 2020
The following closing dates apply:
Applications for exemptions from a requirement in Schedule 5 can be received at latest by Thursday 13 February 2020, providing that they are fully complete and correct.
Applications for accreditation of a course of study can be received at latest by Thursday 13 February 2020, providing that they are fully complete and correct.
Applications for approval of academic qualifications can be received at latest by Thursday 13 February 2020, 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 Thursday 13 February 2020 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):
16 & 17 July 2020
12 & 13 November 2020
Closing dates for qualifications, exemptions and accreditation are six weeks prior to the above future Board meeting dates.