D14.5 Right of Lien

Date Published

S.142 of the act, together with regulation 11.16, provides that a registered patent attorney has, in relation to documents and property of a client in a matter relating to designs, the same right of lien that a solicitor has in relation to the documents and property of a client.

The regulations do not recognise any right of lien with respect to a registered trade marks attorney, or an agent.

The right of lien only exists in respect of documents actually in the possession of the registered patent attorney. In particular, an attorney has no right of lien over documents in the possession of the Registrar.

Where an owner changes attorneys, this right of lien may result in the former attorney refusing to pass documentation about a design to the new attorney (typically demanding payment of unpaid bills). However any asserted right of lien cannot operate to prevent the owner or their new attorney obtaining copies of documents on the files of the Designs Office - see s.61(3).