Last updated: 
15 May 2020

IP Australia is here to help customers through this uncertain time and remains open for business. We have adopted flexible working arrangements to ensure all aspects of our in-office patent services will continue to operate for customers.

Throughout the pandemic you can find information about the status of our patent examination services on our website.

You can also reach us through our contact centre for any specific query, or if you need any help with your application via:

  • IP Australia Online Services available 24x7
  • Phone: 1300 651 010 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) Canberra time
  • International: +61 2 6283 2999

FAQs

Extension of time and Fees

Patent Search and Examination services

Corresponding with IP Australia

Hearings and Oppositions

Extension of time and Fees

Will the office extend timeframes for responses or other legislative time limits?

IP Australia acknowledges that the current pandemic may have had an adverse effect on you and your business. In order to support businesses, rights holders and IP professionals, from 22 April 2020 IP Australia put in place a streamlined process so that applicants can easily apply for a free extension of time of up to three months for most patent actions. We have further information on how to apply and what time periods are eligible. Information about general patent extension of time provisions are outlined on our website.

Does the new simplified extension of time process still involve IP Australia seeking representations from the other party in an opposition?

Yes. If the extension request relates to an action for which the legislation requires the other party to be given an opportunity to make representations, IP Australia would invite the other party to do so. Please note however, to ensure a speedy resolution, IP Australia will be allowing seven business days for the other party to make written representations only.

Will I get an extension of time to pay my fee?

Yes, the streamlined process provides a free extension of time of up to three months for most patent actions that have a fee attached to them, except renewal and continuation fees. Note that a six month grace period is still available for patent renewals, but it will incur late fees.

We have further information on how to apply and what time periods are eligible.

Can I seek a refund of fees on my application?

IP Australia understands the unprecedented impact COVID-19 has had on businesses and people’s livelihood. If you are withdrawing your application, any fees associated with requests that have not been fulfilled will be refunded. The Commissioner will consider requests for refunds of other fees on a case-by-case basis in accordance with IP Australia’s fee refunds policy, so please contact us if you need any help with these.

Patent Search and Examination services

Will IP Australia continue to perform Patent examination services during the COVID-19 pandemic?

IP Australia is open for business and we will continue to support our customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are doing this by making the best use of our flexible working arrangements to ensure all aspects of our patent search and examination services can continue to operate for customers.

We recognise that this is a fast evolving situation. Throughout the pandemic you can find information about the status of our patent examination services on our website. The website will be kept up to date and will include the latest information on our business operations.

For specific enquiries, you can also reach us through our Contact Centre:

  • Phone: 1300 651 010 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) Canberra time 
  • International: +61 2 6283 2999

Will there be any changes in the examination processes or assessment criteria?

All aspects of our patent examination services are currently unaffected by COVID-19. Patent examination will continue to operate as normal for customers. Please refer to our patent examiner’s manual online which sets out our current patent examination practice and procedures.

Will I still be able to discuss reports with someone from the examination team?

Customers can continue to contact us to discuss patent examination reports. If we miss your call please leave a message, we will endeavour to contact you within 24 hours or the next business day.

Can I still request expedited examination on my patent application?

At this time, we can consider requests for expedited examination. If you are seeking expedited examination, you will need to request this in writing and explain the reason/s why expedited examination is needed. We will consider the request favourably where there is a sound reason to expedite examination. Please visit our website for more information and guidance on requesting an expedited examination.

I have filed or intend to file a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application. Are PCT applications still being processed?

Yes, IP Australia is open for business and are continuing to operate as normal. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is also continuing operations under the PCT System. IP Australia as a receiving office and as a searching/examining Authority will continue to process PCT applications during the COVID-19 pandemic. More information on PCT and WIPO’s operations in this regard can be found on WIPO’s website.

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 the PCT Rule 82quater.1. Further information can be found on the WIPO website

Corresponding with IP Australia

Will I receive correspondence from the office given that my physical business is currently closed?

We understand that businesses may have been impacted due to COVID-19, and if postal services in your location are interrupted by the pandemic, official correspondence from IP Australia may not reach you. To assist, all outbound correspondence will be available digitally through our external eDossier. You can access these online at any time. If you have signed up to our notification services, you will be notified once correspondence on your application is issued. You can also register through eServices to receive all correspondence electronically and have your IP Rights linked to your account - please contact us if you need assistance to set this up.

What if I am not able to lodge my applications/documents through eServices?

Our eServices portal is available 24x7. In the event of an outage we will have alternate lodgement services (ALS) available through the online portal. If you are experiencing difficultly lodging applications or documents, then please contact us and we will help you through the process.

Will the current COVID-19 situation impact on delivery of services within the timeframes specified in the Customer Service Charter (CSC)?

We will continue to prioritise our work to deliver our services within the CSC timeframes as much as practically possible. For the most up to date information on our current domestic application processing times please visit our website.

Hearings and Oppositions

Will IP Australia continue conducting Patent hearings during the pandemic?

In the interest of the safety of customers, staff and the public, patent hearings are now being offered by video conference, telephone or written submission. For parties who have scheduled face-to-face hearings, we are in the process of contacting those parties regarding these options.

Can I still request an opposition at this time?

All IP Australia services including requests for opposition continue to operate as normal. You can still request an opposition through our official communication channels which remain open. We also recognise that this is a fast-evolving situation and we encourage you to refer to our website for the most current updates on our business operations.

I am currently involved in an opposition process. Given the current COVID-19 situation, will the timeframes for filing evidence change?

We are mindful that the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented situation that may have an impact on the ability of applicants, opponents and their representatives to process matters within the prescribed timeframes. Where an applicant or opponent cannot carry out an action within time due to the COVID-19 pandemic a streamlined extension of time application process has been made available (from 22 April 2020) for extensions of up to three months.  This includes extensions of time for filing evidence. For more information on how to apply for extensions of time due to COVID-19 please refer to the Extensions of Time FAQs