In February 2017, the long awaited agreement between the Australian and New Zealand governments to standardize the regulation of the patent attorney profession came in to effect. Part of this process was the establishment of a Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board and a review of the Attorneys’ Code of Conduct.

The Board is now undertaking the review of the Code and must make any appropriate amendments by February 2018, based on industry consultation and comment. In addition, the Board will undertake a review of the Code’s conflict of interest provisions.

The review of the conflict of interest provisions will be timely, due to concerns with the rise of listed entities acquiring different firms under common ownership. The current conflict of interest provisions do not address the requirements to be met if operating under that structure.

FB Rice welcomes the review and will be pleased to contribute to the consultative process which is running between now and 3 June 2017. In due course, as further information is released, we will provide updates on its progress.

The consultation paper is available on the IP Australia website.