The Institute of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys of Australia can trace its origins back almost 120 years.
The original Australasian Institute of Patent Agents, founded in 1890, reflected two trends:
- Expanded university courses for professions seeking industry associations to promote aims and codes of practice
- The likelihood of an Australian Federation, leading to the replacement of different State laws with uniform Commonwealth patent laws
Another group, the Patent Attorneys Association of Australia, formed in 1916.
Three years later, however, half of Australia’s registered patent attorneys didn’t belong to either body.
In 1932, the old Australasian Institute and the Institute of Patent Attorneys of Australia amalgamated – largely because of growing international trade and the need for a single body able to liaise with similar overseas organisations.
In 1998, the Institute changed its name to The Institute of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys of Australia (IPTA), following the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill 1997 and the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition legislation.
IPTA also amended its Memorandum of Association, Articles of Association, Code of Ethics and Ethics Guidelines. The changes were designed to:
- Enhance and maintain the standing of IPTA Fellows
- Broaden membership categories to encompass registered Australian trademarks attorneys
The Annual General Meeting and Dinner developed into the Annual Conference. Initially attended by members and official guests only, these Conferences were male-only events until the first female member was admitted as a Fellow in 1962.
Today, the Institute boasts 108 female Fellows.
While members’ work was originally honorary, a permanent Secretariat was established in 1980, allowing IPTA to take on larger, more time-consuming initiatives.
During the period 1999-2010 IPTA ran its Academy of Education which provided training for student patent attorneys, helping them to obtain qualifications to practise as patent attorneys in Australia and New Zealand, in the subjects of Drafting Patent Specifications and Interpretation, Validity of Patent Specifications and Patent System.
IPTA members now have a more effective lobbying voice, higher profiles within industries they serve and growing ties with other intellectual property bodies around the world.