Trans-Tasman patent attorney regulatory regime in effect

  • Jacqui Dean
Commerce and Consumer Affairs

The trans-Tasman patent attorney regime, a system for joint regulation of patent attorneys in Australia and New Zealand, is now in effect, helping to create a seamless trans-Tasman business environment.

Reforms as part of the Single Economic Market agenda, agreed to by the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand in 2009, have created a single body to regulate patent attorneys in both countries.

The trans-Tasman patent attorney regime is designed to increase business confidence in the service provided by patent attorneys, to streamline processes, to minimise the cost of regulating patent attorneys in both countries, and to facilitate competition in the market for patent attorney services.

Patent attorneys in Australia and New Zealand will be on a single register. New attorneys will be registered under a single set of requirements, and will be subject to a single code of conduct and single disciplinary process.

Existing Australian and New Zealand attorneys will be automatically transferred to the new joint register.

The Professional Standards Board will continue, but will be renamed the trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board, with an expanded membership.

Senator Arthur Sinodinos, the Australian Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, said the new regime was a logical and sensible step.

“The majority of Australian and New Zealand patent attorneys are already registered in both countries,” Senator Sinodinos said.

“Removing barriers for patent attorneys and encouraging competition are key elements that will help drive productivity, innovation and industry growth for both countries.”

The New Zealand Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Jacqui Dean said the two countries had a close relationship.

“New Zealand and Australia have a longstanding and close relationship, but this is the first time a profession will be truly regulated, in a unified way on a trans-Tasman basis”, Ms Dean said.

The necessary legislation implementing the trans-Tasman patent attorney regime will take effect in both countries on 24 February 2017.