Freedom of information

You can request copies of information held by our agency at anytime. Here's how to make a freedom of information (FOI) request, and the other ways of accessing our documents and historical data.

Rights to information under FOI

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) gives people the right to:

  • Request access to copies of documents we hold (except for exempt documents)
  • Ask for personal information to be changed or annotated if it is incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading
  • Seek a review of a decision we have made to:
    • Deny access to a document
    • Defer access to a document
    • Refuse to amend or annotate personal information.

The FOI Act provides exemptions that allow us to refuse access to documents for specific reasons including being legally privileged, confidential or in the interests of third parties.

What is freedom of information?

How to access information we hold

Before making a formal FOI request, you might find what you need more easily by:

  • Checking what's already been published through the information publication scheme
  • Requesting a copy of a document relating to a particular IP rights application
  • Requesting information under administrative access arrangements
  • Checking what's already been published on the FOI disclosure log.

Find out more about these below. If you can't access what you're looking for, you'll need to request it through FOI.

Our information publication scheme plan links to information about our agency on our website, including:

  • Who we are
  • What we do
  • Our annual reports
  • Our consultation process
  • Hearing decisions of Delegates of the Commissioner of Patents, Register of Trade Marks and the Registrar of Designs.

We keep certain documents about particular IP applications.

This includes:

  • Filing notices
  • Examiner's work folder (such as search reports)
  • Adverse reports from an examiner
  • Assignments (change of ownership).

You can request these documents, for a fee.

Note that if you're seeking a patent specification, you can access all documents that are open for public inspection on the
Australian Patent Search, free of charge.

How to make a document request

You'll need to:

  • Create an account with our online services
  • Submit the request
  • Pay the fee.

Some information we hold can be accessed through administrative access arrangements.

This includes:

  • Your personal information
  • Non-confidential research or statistical data that might be requested by journalists, researchers or academics
  • General information that can be released without adversely affecting others
  • Documents that would be released in full if the request had been made under the FOI Act
  • Documents regarding an application for registration of a trade mark made prior to 27 March 2007, which would otherwise have been made available for public inspection under section 217A of the Trade Marks Act 1995.

Most requests we receive under administrative access are for documents that relate to a trade mark filed prior to 27 March 2007.

How to make a request

There are two ways to make a request under administrative access arrangements:

      1.  Online services

  • Create an account with our online services
  • Submit the request

      2.  Directly contact our FOI coordinator

  • Call the team on 02 6283 2110
  • Reach out via email at FOIrequests@ipaustralia.gov.au
  • Send your request to us by post.

You can see what's already been disclosed under previous FOI requests by searching our FOI disclosure log.

You can make a formal request about any information we hold. Your request must:

  • Be made in writing
  • State that your application relates to the FOI Act
  • Provide enough detail about the information or document you seek so we can identify and locate it
  • Include an address (email or mail) for reply.

You can use our FOI application form to capture these details.

How to make a request

There are two ways to make a request under FOI:

     1.  Submit via online services

  • Create an account with our online services
  • Submit the request

      2.  Submit directly to our FOI coordinator

  • Reach out via email at FOIrequests@ipaustralia.gov.au
  • Send your application to us by post.

We're happy to help, so contact us if you need any assistance.

What you can expect from us

We'll:

  • Take reasonable steps to help you make a valid request
  • Acknowledge valid requests within 14 days of receipt
  • Estimate any processing charges that apply
  • Provide a decision within 30 days, unless processing time has been extended. An extra 30 days is automatically allowed if a document contains information about a third party and we need to consult them. We may also seek your agreement to extend time by up to 30 days under certain circumstances.

Cost

There is no fee to:

  • Make a request (no application fee)
  • Request a review of a decision
  • Access documents that contain only your personal information.

However, processing charges can apply to some requests. Where this is the case, fees are charged in accordance with the FOI Regulations. We'll let you know before we get started.

What if I'm not happy with the result?

You can seek review of a decision if we:

  • Refuse access to all or part of a document
  • Defer access to a document
  • Impose a charge
  • Refuse to change or annotate personal information that is claimed to be incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading.

A third party can dispute a decision to grant someone else access to documents that contain information about them.

If you want to request a review of a decision you'll need to act quickly — applications for an internal review must be made within 30 days of receiving a decision letter.

A new decision will be made by a different decision maker within 30 days.

Apply for external review

You can also apply for an external review by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) who can respond to the original decision by:

  • Confirming it
  • Changing it
  • Substituting a new decision.

Visit the OAIC’s website for more information about reviews or to make a complaint about the processing of a request for information.

Historic IP data

Hosted by our centre of data excellence, intellectual property government open data (IPGOD) provides access to over 100 years of our information on IP rights applications. We update the dataset annually.

IPGOD contains:

  • All IP rights applications
  • Key dates and events
  • The names of applicants, their agents and in some cases their Australian Business Number (ABN) or Australian Company Number (ACN).

How to access IPGOD