Last updated: 
20 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 trade mark and design services will continue to operate for customers.

Throughout the pandemic you can find information about the status of our 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

Trade Mark and Designs Examination Services

Opposition and Hearings

Extension of Time and Fees

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

Yes, 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 trade mark and design actions. For more information on how to apply and what time periods are eligible please see our FAQsInformation about general trade mark and design 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?

The streamlined process provides a free extension of time of up to three months for trade mark and design actions that have a fee attached to them, except renewal and continuation fees. Note that a six month grace period is still available for trade marks and designs, but will incur late fees.

Can you refund or waive any fees for my trade mark or design?

IP Australia recognises that the COVID-19 outbreak may have put a significant financial strain on our customers. IP Australia will consider requests for refunds and waivers on a case-by-case basis. Please get in touch with us if you would like to know if a refund or waiver of fees is possible.

In regards to fees for extensions of time, from 22 April 2020 a streamlined process provides a free extension of time of up to three months for most trade mark and designs actions. For more information on how to apply under these circumstances and what time periods are eligible for extensions due to COVID-19 please our FAQs.

Trade Mark and Designs Examination Services

Will I receive a response to my trade mark application or designs examination request within 13 weeks as specified in the Customer Service Charter?

We are currently experiencing some delay to the examination of trade marks and designs due to a backlog of applications not related to the COVID-19 situation. We apologise for any inconvenience. For the most up to date information on our current application processing times for trade marks please visit our trade marks response times page.

Will I be able to contact the examiner who is listed on the report?

Yes, IP Australia remains open for business with staff working from home and they are contactable. We remain committed to processing your requests and responding to your enquiries. Customers can continue to transact with us and our official communication channels remain open. If you are unable to reach an examiner, please call us

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

We understand that this is a difficult time for people with their businesses impacted by COVID-19, and IP Australia correspondence may not reach you. An alternative to receiving correspondence is through our online services platform which delivers correspondence digitally. If you have not previously created an account, this would be a good option for you so you can continue to get important and relevant correspondence from us. You can also call IP Australia and we can guide you through your query.

Is TM Headstart still available as this time?

Yes, we continue to provide all our services to our customers in the usual way, including TM Headstart. We also recognise that COVID-19 is a fast-evolving situation and we encourage you to keep an eye on our website for updates on IP Australia’s operations.

My TM Headstart application has been discontinued as I was unable to respond due to circumstances involving COVID-19, who do I speak with?

We encourage you to contact the examiner responsible for your TM Headstart if you have any issues, or contact us through our communication channels on our website.

Can I still fast track or expedite my TM application?

Yes, customers can continue to request trade mark examination to be expedited but because of the need to assess a request for expedited examination on their individual merits, it is not possible to set down definitive criteria. For more information on criteria and how to request expedited examination, please visit our trade mark expedited examination page. 

My TM application is progressing through the Madrid system, will that process continue?

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is continuing operations under the Madrid System for the International Registration to Marks. WIPO's website has more information on the Madrid System.

I am looking at diversifying some different goods and services to those currently covered under my registered trade mark, what can I do?

Challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic are affecting many of our customers, and Australian businesses are quickly pivoting to adapt to their changing circumstances. 

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.

Opposition and Hearings

What is likely to happen to my hearing?

To ensure the safety of 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. If you are concerned, please contact our Hearings team

The usual conduct of my business has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak – how will the office approach evidence of use considerations in light of this?

In light of the major impact on businesses continuing to trade in the Australian community, IP Australia acknowledges that the current situation may have hindered or prevented the use of your IP Right in the Australian marketplace. We will assess these obstacles to you being able to use your IP Right on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the length and extent of use, and the fact that the COVID-19 situation affected many businesses.

Can I still request an opposition at this time?

Yes, all IP Australia services including request for opposition continue to operate as usual. Please continue to transact with us as our official communication channels remain open. We also recognise that this is a fast-evolving situation and we encourage you to keep an eye on our website for updates.

I have a trade mark or design Hearing scheduled, how do I know if it will go ahead? Can the Hearing be held via video conference, over the phone or by written submissions only?

To 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. We also recognise that this is a fast-evolving situation and we encourage you to keep an eye on our website for updates.

I am involved in an on-going trade mark or design opposition process, will the timeframes change, including for submitting evidence or due to deferral of a hearing?

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, a streamlined process has been put in place (from 22 April 2020) to allow a free extension of time of up to three months for most trade mark and designs actions. For more information on how to apply and what time periods are eligible for extensions due to COVID-19 please see Extensions of Time FAQs.

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.