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Incorporation of existing patent attorney firms

Recording a change of agent for newly-incorporated patent attorney firms

Patent attorney firms that have incorporated are required to notify IPONZ of the incorporation.

The newly-incorporated firm is a new legal entity. It is therefore necessary to record a change of agent against all IP rights for existing clients to reflect this new agency by the incorporated firm.

Centralised change agent process

To reduce the administrative burden on newly incorporated firms (and the associated flow on costs to clients) IPONZ offers a centralised ‘Change Agent’ procedure for this situation. Newly-incorporated firms may submit a letter to mail@iponz.govt.nz to request this process.

Information required to record the change of agent

Newly-incorporated firms seeking to record the change of agent must provide a formal letter to IPONZ. This letter must contain the following information:

  • That the newly-incorporated firm has notified all existing clients about the former partnership’s change of structure to an incorporated firm;
  • That existing clients have authorised the newly-incorporated firm to act on their behalf;
  • That the existing IPONZ client ID of the partnership will now represent the newly incorporated firm;
  • Be signed by a person authorised by the Board of the newly incorporated firm, that person being a registered trans-Tasman patent attorney or practicing lawyer.

IPONZ will advise once the Change of Agent process has been completed.

Please note that, where the newly-incorporated firm is taking instructions from a foreign patent attorney firm, the foreign firm is deemed to be the 'client' for this process (not the applicant or IP rights holder the foreign firm is representing).

Record of the change of agent on registers

A change of agent case, including the letter from the new incorporated firm confirming they are authorised to act for existing clients, will be recorded against each IP right for existing clients.

This will ensure there is a public record of the change of agent.

Commissioner’s discretion

Each request will be considered on its merits and the Commissioner may exercise discretion to deviate from this practice where appropriate.

This includes but is not limited to situations where:

  • The Commissioner has good reason or information to believe the incorporated firm has no authority to act for existing clients; or
  • The Commissioner has no previous working relationship with the directors of the newly incorporated firm, and/or where they are not trans-Tasman patent attorneys or lawyers subject to professional codes of conduct.