IP legislation in Australia

In Australia, intellectual property (IP) rights are protected by federal legislation and common law.

Our role in IP legislation

We're responsible for the administration of IP legislation in Australia. Our role includes:

  • Overseeing the functions of the trade mark, patent, design right and plant breeder's right offices and officers
  • Publishing and maintaining the official journals for IP rights in Australia
  • Administering applications for trade marks, patents, design rights and plant breeder's rights
  • Charging fees
  • Registering trade mark and patent attorneys and defining their rights of practice
  • Accrediting approved persons to supervise and verify plant breeder's rights applications.

Acts and regulations

In Australia, the law regarding IP rights is prescribed by acts and regulations. We administer the following:

Non-legislative instruments

We manage several non-legislative instruments for each IP right.

The Trade Marks Act allows the Registrar to determine:

  • How to file a document with the trade marks office
  • Forms for filing documents
  • How evidence in a Trade Marks Act matter should be filed
  • How to pay fees.

Here's the current non-legislative trade mark instruments:

The Patents Act allows the Commissioner to determine:

  • How to file a document with the patent office

  • Forms for filing documents

  • How evidence in a Patents Act matter should be filed

  • How to pay fees

  • Formalities requirements for complete applications.

Here's the current non-legislative patent instruments:

The Designs Act to allows the Registrar to determine:

  • How to file a document with the designs office
  • Forms for filing documents
  • How evidence in a Designs Act matter should be filed
  • Formal requirements for design representations
  • How to pay fees.

Here's the current non-legislative design instruments:

The Plant Breeder's Rights Act allows the Registrar to determine:

  • How to file a document with the plant breeder's right office
  • Forms for filing documents
  • How to pay fees.

Here's the current non-legislative PBR instruments:

Archiving non-legislative documents

We undertake regular reviews of the non-legislative instruments to adopt more efficient processes. As these become available, we repeal or amend some instruments.

To make the process transparent to our stakeholders and for tracking purposes, a history of the superseded instruments can be found in our LibGuides.

Visit LibGuides

Related content

Trade marks Design rights Patents Plant breeders rights

How to comment on policy issues

Your feedback helps us allocate resources effectively and provide advice on the development of intellectual property (IP) policy. Here's how you can have your say.  

Design rights Patents Plant breeders rights Trade marks

Public consultations

If you have an interest in the direction of intellectual property (IP) in Australia, our public consultations are an opportunity to have your say on past, current and future policies.