Under the 2009 Single Economic Market (SEM) agenda, the New Zealand and Australian Governments agreed a joint work programme to remove regulatory barriers to IP attorneys and firms operating in both markets. The key intellectual property outcome under the SEM agenda was the development of a single regulatory framework for patent attorneys in Australia and New Zealand with the same accreditation and professional standards in both countries.

From today a single patent attorney regulatory regime has come into force between Australia and New Zealand.

A key feature of the new regime is that the Australian Professional Standards Board has been renamed as the Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board, with an expanded membership. This means a single register for patent attorneys, a single set of requirements for registration, a single code of conduct and a single disciplinary process for Australian and New Zealand attorneys.

The knowledge requirements for registration as a patent attorney have been amended to require candidates to have sufficient knowledge of both AU and NZ intellectual property law and practice. Similarly, the work experience requirements for registration as a patent attorney includes prosecution of Australian and New Zealand patent cases.

Wrays welcome these changes. The delivery of a single regulatory system for patent and trademarks for Australian and New Zealand attorneys brings improved clarity, continuity and efficiency of service for clients. It ensures that intellectual property knowledge of both jurisdictions is kept to a high threshold level, which can only deliver a better and stronger outcome to clients seeking IP rights in Australia and New Zealand.

While these changes are significant, they do not alter business operations at Wrays. Most of our patent attorneys are registered in both Australia and New Zealand. Wrays services both Australian and New Zealand markets.

Wrays look forward to building on this significant step in our continued expansion into Australian and New Zealand markets as well as other markets in the Pacific and South East Asian regions.