In the event of an emergency or interruption to our major services we have plans in place to maintain or restore services as quickly as possible with minimal disruption.
Wherever possible during an emergency or major business interruption, our services and search systems will be available. Should these facilities become unavailable we will post information on our home page as it comes to hand and as circumstances permit.
Our legislation also has a number of provisions that are designed to mitigate the effects of business disruptions. However in view of the date-sensitive nature of intellectual property (IP), customers are advised to address important deadlines ahead of time to minimise the risk of affecting their IP rights in Australia or in other countries. While further periods to comply may be available in some circumstances, these should not be the basis of normal business practice.
Office closure provisions
In most cases, when a time limit expires at a time when an office is closed for business, including because of an emergency or a major business disruption, the required action can be taken at that office without penalty on the next day it is open for business. For example, if a document is required to be filed on a day that the Melbourne Lodgment Point is declared closed because of a local emergency and all other offices remain open, the extended timeframe will apply only to the filing of the document at the Melbourne Lodgment Point on the next day it is open for business. However, it will not apply if the document is filed elsewhere or by other means (fax or website).
We publish a list of days in each calendar year on which IP Australia and/or it's sub-offices will be closed for business. Offices may also be declared closed for business on other days due to special circumstances including emergencies.
We will inform customers of any office closures through our website and other methods of communication as practical.
In the event that one of our offices is temporarily closed, customers are strongly encouraged to lodge an application or other documents via one of the alternative methods. These are:
- Fax: (02) 6283 7999
- Post: IP Australia, PO Box 200, Woden, ACT, 2606
- Web: Lodge an application via our online services.
- Customers can also contact the Customer Service Centre for assistance.
Extension of time provisions
In many other circumstances extensions of time limits are available to mitigate the effects of business disruptions that can prevent you from meeting a requirement under the legislation. This includes where you could not take the action because of circumstances beyond your control. An example might be that you were not able to access your place of business because of a natural disaster.
Note however that both the office closure and extension of time provisions only apply where you are required to meet a specified time frame. They do not cover other actions including the initial filing of an application that establishes a priority date.
The Patents and Designs legislation also contain provisions for the protection and compensation of third parties in certain circumstances where the effect of an extension of time is to restore a patent or registered design that has lapsed or ceased.
Process if you are affected by an emergency situation
We understand that, you may be impacted by circumstances beyond your control, such as natural disasters, which prevent you accessing our services or meeting the requirements of the legislation. We will assist you wherever possible, including providing you with information about extensions of time provisions or reconstructing records that may have been lost or damaged.
You should contact us or your legal adviser as soon as you are aware a deadline has not been met, or that one is approaching.
Last Updated: 30/1/2013