Expand safe harbour for patent and trade marks attorneys from prosecution under state and territory legal profession acts.

Policy ID: 
24
Status: 
On hold
Priority: 
Low
Issue summary: 

Under the various State and Territory Legal Profession Acts, it is a crime for anyone other than a legal practitioner to 'engage in legal practice' without some relevant exception applying. Exemptions include acting under the authority of a law of the Commonwealth, such as for patent and trade mark attorneys.

The provisions setting out what patent or trade mark attorneys may and may not do might not be sufficiently clear. This may put attorneys at risk of being penalised for trespassing on the legal practitioners' reserve. The areas of uncertainty are specifically with work in the trade marks and designs fields, advice on IP-related matters, and the right of registered attorneys to use the expression "attorney" to describe themselves.

Review of the scope of patent and trade mark attorney's practice rights could determine if clarification is required.

History: 
On hold 04-Sept-2017
Comments: 
IP Australia does not have sufficient evidence of a problem to justify action at this time. IP Australia is monitoring this issue, and would welcome any relevant evidence from stakeholders.
Tag: 
Attorney Regulation
Patents
Trade Marks

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