Published: 
1 April 2020

We are open for business

IP Australia continues to provide its services. We are making changes where needed to ensure we comply with COVID-19 restrictions. For example, we are now conducting our hearings by video conferencing, telephone or written submissions.

We understand that the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak may impact the ability of applicants and their representatives to process applications. Further information for applicants is provided below.

IP Australia has adopted working arrangements to ensure the safety of our staff. We are committed to processing your requests and responding to your enquiries as usual during this time.

As the COVID-19 situation is rapidly evolving, we recommend checking this page regularly for updates. Our online services and contact centre are available:

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

If you need information on any developments regarding applications or registrations under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and/or the Madrid Protocol, or WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center, please refer to https://www.wipo.int/portal/en/news/2020/article_0015.html

Filing of documents and making payments

Most of IP Australia’s staff are now working from home which means from 1 April 2020, Discovery House, 47 Bowes Street, Phillip, ACT 2606 will no longer be able to accept documents or payments in person. Please use eServices for filing and payments. 

 

Published: 19 March 2020

Hearings

Future hearings will be conducted by video conference, telephone or written submission. For parties who have scheduled face-to-face hearings, we are in the process of contacting you regarding these options.

Plant Breeder’s Rights

IP Australia recognises that the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak is an unprecedented situation that may have an impact on the ability of Plant Breeder's Rights (PBR) applicants and their representatives, including Qualified Persons, to process applications.

Where a PBR applicant cannot carry out an action within time due to the COVID-19 outbreak it may be possible to defer the action. Requests for a deferral will need to be made in the normal way, accompanied where required by a statement setting out how the COVID-19 outbreak interfered with responding in time. Applicants should note that some time periods cannot be extended. These include requirements to file a PBR application within the allowable prior sales period and submitting documents for priority claims in relation to foreign applications. There is also limited discretion in deferring certain fees. Applicants should check with IP Australia or an intellectual property professional if they are uncertain whether a deferment of any action is possible.

Until further notice PBR examiners will not be conducting the examination of field trials for PBR purposes that involve domestic flights or overnight stays. All PBR applicants and Qualified Persons with field trials that are due for examination in 2020 should contact the PBR Office to determine possible alternative options including postponement.

The Australian Cultivar Registration Authority (ACRA) is closed for receiving plant specimens until further notice. PBR Applicants and Qualified Persons of varieties originating from Australian native plants who are required to submit a plant specimen to the ACRA are requested to either press the specimen themselves and hold off submitting until notified or wait and collect the specimen at a future date when the ACRA has re-opened.

As the situation with COVID-19 is evolving please check this page regularly for updates.

 

Published: 19 March 2020

Extensions of Time for Patents, Trade Marks and Designs

IP Australia recognises that the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak is an unprecedented situation that may have an impact on the ability of applicants and their representatives to process applications.

Where an applicant cannot carry out an action within time due to the COVID-19 outbreak an extension of time may be available. Requests for extensions of time will need to be made in the normal way, accompanied where required by a declaration setting out how the COVID-19 outbreak interfered with responding in time. Requests for waiver or refund of the fee for the extension of time will be considered on a case by case basis as per our current practice.

Applicants should note that some time periods cannot be extended. Applicants should check with IP Australia or an intellectual property professional if they are uncertain whether an extension of time is possible.

 

Published: 13 March 2020

As you would be aware, the Department of Health currently has an active alert monitoring the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Australian Government, and in turn IP Australia is taking this issue seriously, activating necessary precautions in line with our Business Continuity Plan (BCP).

Our BCP (consistent with Australian Government requirements) ensures we monitor and take appropriate actions to safeguard our staff and the services we provide customers.

For up to date information about COVID-19, please see the Department of Health’s website.