All patent attorneys who are licensed to practice in New Zealand are registered under a joint registration regime between New Zealand and Australia. This joint regime is overseen by the Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board and the Designated Manager, who are responsible for administering the regulatory and disciplinary regimes for patent attorneys.
The joint regime ensures that patent attorneys have the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to provide competent advice on patents. The key features of the joint registration regime are set out in the 2013 arrangement below.
This joint registration regime is implemented through the following legislation:
- Patents Act 2013 (see part 6) — New Zealand Legislation
- Patents Act 1990 (Cth) — Australia Legislation
- Patents Regulations 1991 (Cth) — Australia Legislation
The trans-Tasman IP attorneys register is administered by the Designated Manager.
The Designated Manager is responsible for registering patent attorneys under the joint regime. The Designated Manager may also suspend or cancel a person’s registration under certain circumstances, such as where:
- the registered patent attorney has failed to meet continuing professional education requirements (minimum of 10 hours per annum)
- the registered patent attorney has failed to renew their registration in a timely manner
- the trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Disciplinary Tribunal has ordered that the registration of a patent attorney be suspended or cancelled following a determination of misconduct or unsatisfactory conduct.
Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board
The Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board (TTIPAB) is an Australian statutory body responsible under the joint registration regime for, amongst other things:
- approving the academic qualifications required to become a patent attorney
- the knowledge requirements for patent attorneys
- the accreditation of courses for patent attorneys that satisfy knowledge requirements to become registered
- the granting of exemptions from knowledge requirements
- the professional conduct of patent attorneys.
This includes disciplinary matters such as:
- receiving and investigating complaints about patent attorneys
- inquiring into the conduct of patent attorneys
- commencing disciplinary proceedings against patent attorneys before the Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Disciplinary Tribunal.
The TTIPAB is required to report annually to the Australian Minister responsible for administering patents; and the New Zealand Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
More information about the TTIPAB, its functions, and its composition may be found on the TTIPAB website.
The Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board — TTIPAB