Requirements to Register as a Patent Attorneys
Under the Commonwealth Patents Act 1990, a person wishing to practise as a patent attorney in Australia must be registered under section 198 of the Act. Registration entitles the person to call themselves a ‘patent attorney’, and allows the person to enjoy the right of professional privilege (without which clients’ rights might be adversely affected).
In order to become a registered patent attorney, the applicant must have a degree, diploma or post graduate qualification in a field of potentially patentable subject matter, have passed (or been exempted from) examinations (in nine prescribed subject topics) or have passed an accredited course of study that satisfies the requirements for registration and be an ordinary resident of Australia. They must also have been employed in a position or positions that provide experience in patent searching, drafting patent specifications, preparing filing and prosecuting patent applications in Australia and overseas countries, and providing advice on infringement and validity of patents. The person must have been employed in the position or positions for at least two continuous years, or for a total of two years within a five year period.
In addition, the applicant must submit a statement of skill, written by a registered patent attorney who has been registered for at least five years, stating that in the opinion of that registered attorney, the applicant has experience in one or more of the necessary skills. The registered patent attorney making the statement will ideally be the attorney who has been involved in supervising the applicant during his employment as a trainee patent attorney.
Intending candidates may ascertain whether their technical qualifications meet the requirements of the Regulations, by making an application to the Trans Tasman IP Attorneys Board.
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Requirements to Register as a Trade Mark Attorney
While it is not necessary to be registered to practice in the area of trade marks, only those persons on the official Register of Trade Marks Attorneys are entitled to call themselves a ‘trade marks attorney’ or ‘trade marks agent’, and to enjoy the rights such as professional privilege (without which a client’s rights may be adversely affected).