New Code of Conduct for Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys

The Professional Standards Board (PSB) administers the regulatory and disciplinary regimes for Patent and Trade Marks attorneys in Australia, the Code of Conduct to which all Australian Patent and Trademarks attorneys are bound.

Over the last 18 months the PSB conducted a major review and update of the Code of Conduct. The PSB recently announced that a new Code of Conduct for Patent and Trade Marks Attorneys 2013 will come into effect on 23 November 2013.  A copy of the new code can be found here.

The Code of Conduct:

  • explains to registered attorneys the standards of professional conduct that they are expected to meet in their practice as registered attorneys;
  • makes it clear to users of the services of registered attorneys what they should expect; and
  • provides a framework for the Board to readily determine whether the conduct of an attorney should be the subject of disciplinary proceedings before the Patent and Trade Marks Attorneys Disciplinary Tribunal.

For practitioners, the new code now more clearly prescribes an attorney’s core obligations (section 11), competency requirements (section 12), engagement requirements with new and existing clients (sections 13 and 14) and provides specific detail on requirements for certain types of client information and actions (sections 15 to 20).

The new Code of Conduct has become a statutory instrument having been registered with the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments on 23 October 2013.