Published: 
15 July 2020

We are here to help

We recognise that many of our customers may be struggling with the impacts of COVID-19. We are committed to supporting our customers and are here to help through these difficult times. Your requests and enquiries will be addressed as quickly as we can 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:

Extensions of time

A streamlined process for extension of time requests is now available. Associated fees are now waived or refunded to assist those impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

  • From 22 April 2020, customers impacted by COVID-19 can submit a request for extension of time through eServices. There is no need to provide any additional written explanation.
  • An extension of time of up to three months is available and is free of charge. The usual fee is now waived automatically in eServices.
  • This arrangement applies to most Patents, Trade Marks, and Designs extension of time requests. For Plant Breeder’s Rights (PBR) extensions of time, see the PBR Frequently Asked Questions page. This arrangement does not apply to extensions of time for payment of renewal fees. 
  • Please note that where our legislation requires it, we must give the other party in an opposition matter an opportunity to comment on the request for an extension of time. The comments must be made by way of written submissions only and must be submitted to us in seven business days.
  • These arrangements will be in place until 31 August 2020.
  • We are regularly reviewing these temporary arrangements and assessing whether they will be continued beyond 31 August 2020. We will provide at least one week’s notice before they cease.

For more information on extensions of time for COVID-19, please refer to Frequently Asked Questions below.

Fee Exemption Regulations

With changes made to the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Fee Exemptions) Regulations 2020, (“the Regulations”), we now have more flexibility to offer certain fee exemptions for affected businesses in appropriate circumstances.

These Regulations were registered on 12 June 2020 and amend the Plant Breeder’s Rights Regulations 1994 and the Trade Marks Regulations 1995.

Filing documents and making payments in person

In the interest of the safety of our customers, staff and the public, many of our staff are working from home. While these temporary arrangements are in place, as of 1 April 2020, Discovery House, 47 Bowes Street, Phillip, ACT 2606 will not be able to accept documents or payments in person. Please use our online eServices platform available 24x7 for filing and making payments.

Corresponding with IP Australia

We understand that businesses may have been impacted due to COVID-19. If postal services in your location are interrupted by the pandemic, official correspondence from IP Australia may not reach you. An alternative to receiving correspondence is through our online services platform which delivers correspondence digitally. If you have not previously registered through eServices, this would be a good option to ensure you continue to get important and relevant correspondence from us. Please contact us if you need assistance to set this up.

Opposition and hearing policy

To comply with COVID-19 restriction and ensure the safety of customers, staff and the public, hearings are now being 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. All IP Australia services, including requests for opposition, continue to operate as usual.

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that you may have a range of queries around your IP Right during this pandemic. We have created specific Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to assist you. If you are not sure about your circumstance, please reach out to our Contact Centre on 1300 65 10 10. We will continue to update these FAQs with the latest information related your IP Right.

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

IP Australia in its capacity as an Office and Authority under the PCT also intends to follow the recommendations of WIPO contained in the recent interpretation of PCT Rule 82quater.1. Further information about WIPO’s interpretation of Rule 82quater.1 can be found here. An explanation of WIPO’s extensions of time limits for failure to pay fees can be found here

On 5 May 2020 WIPO launched a COVID-19 Policy Tracker, which provides information on measures adopted by IP offices around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the extension of deadlines. 

Australian Government and other support

If you have an opportunity to explore different goods and services to those currently covered under your registered trade marks, then we have introduced the Trade Mark Helpline.

The Australian Government has announced support to businesses impacted by COVID-19. For more information, please visit www.business.gov.au

Indigenous Business Australia have pledged a number of business support measures as well as a series of explainer videos for Indigenous Businesses.

Read more on the Governments regulatory protection and financial support for businesses to stay in business (Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme).

If you are in the cultural and creative sector the Office for the Arts has also published information on supporting measures available to you.

Further information

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.