Designs Examination Quality Standards

IP Australia recognises that the services it provides must comply with the requirements of the Designs Act 2003 and Regulations, and meet expectations of quality from its customers. IP Australia's Quality Policy is available on the IP Australia website.

To ensure that customer's expectations are met, a set of quality standards for designs examination has been developed using comments from our customers and in consultation with our staff.

The quality standards apply to all aspects of designs examination carried out by IP Australia and provide us with benchmarks against which to assess the quality of these aspects of the examination process.

Achieving the standards for designs examination will ensure that the resulting rights are robust and are entitled to a presumption of validity, which meets the customer's expectations. The Manual is fundamental to implementing the quality standards but must always be considered as a guide and interpreted in the context of the Act, Regulations and the relevant decisions of courts and tribunals.  

The quality standards support IP Australia's commitment to providing high quality designs services for the benefit of Australia.  These standards will be continually refined in the light of experience and comments from our customers.

The Product Quality Standards (PQS) are categorised according to the extent to which they affect the validity of the IP Right. By categorising the PQS under different tiers, a scale of significance has been applied to each component of work, whereby searching and raising objections relating to the validity of an IP Right are most important. Each Standard has attributes that have been grouped together to allow an assessment of compliance to that Standard. The overall quality of a product is defined by one or more PQS depending on the nature of the product.

Tier 1 category (i.e. critical) includes PQS that relate to substantive matters which would adversely affect (or have the potential to affect) the validity of the IP Right.

Tier 2 category (i.e. important) includes PQS that relate to matters which would require a considerable amount of rework and/or inconvenience to the owner or IP Australia, but would not materially jeopardise the validity of the IP Right.

Tier 3 category (i.e. minor) category (i.e. minor) includes PQS that relate to matters which are important in terms of the quality of the product.

The Product Quality Standards are to be read in consideration with the practices and procedures detailed in the Designs Examiner’s Manual.

The Product Quality Standards do not define practices and procedures. The Designs Examiner’s Manual details practices and procedures and the Standards assess adherence to those practices and procedures.

For a product to meet the requirements of our Quality Standards, it must comply with all the relevant attributes defined for that Standard. Conversely, if the product does not meet the requirements of our Quality Standards to at least one of the attributes, it will be deemed not to conform to that Standard.  

The Product Quality Standards will be reviewed regularly and/or updated as required in order to reflect the appropriate product quality attributes. A printer-friendly A3-sized approved version of the PQS can be found by clicking on the heading below.

Product Quality Standards (Printable Word Version)

Tier 1

 

PQS 1 - A correct search strategy is adopted

 

PQS 2 - All relevant grounds for revocation are correctly taken

Tier 2

 

PQS 3 – Reports are comprehensive and informative

Tier 3

 

PQS 4 - Written formalities are complete and correct

 

NOTE:

1.

All relevant Standards  apply to all reports at all stages of prosecution. New relevant grounds for revocation must be raised in further reports if those relevant grounds for revocation were missed in a previous report, or if the circumstances have changed.

2.

Grounds for revocation and relevant amendments must be in accordance with the Designs Act and Regulations, and apply Office practice defined in the Designs Manual of Practice and Procedure and relevant practice guidelines.

 

TIER 1: includes Product Quality Standards (PQS) that relate to substantive matters which would adversely affect (or have the potential to affect) the validity of the IP Right.

PQS 1 - A correct search strategy is adopted  

1.1

Effective use is made of available search results

 

1.1.1

Effective use is made of available search results including submissions and/or previous examinations.

 

1.1.2

Given the availability of these search results, further searches are conducted by the examiner if the earlier search is clearly inadequate.

1.2

Search strategy is appropriate

 

1.2.1

Field and scope of the search strategy is appropriate.

 

1.2.2

Search terms and operators are appropriate.

 

1.2.3

Relevant databases are consulted.

1.3

Documentation on file

 

1.3.1

Search strategy is conducted and evident on case file

 

PQS 2 - All relevant grounds for revocation are correctly taken

2.1

Grounds for Revocation

 

2.1.1

Sections 5, 6, 7 and 8: design meets subject matter requirements.

 

2.1.2

Section 16(1): design is new.

 

2.1.3

Sections 16(2) and 19: design is distinctive.

 

2.1.4

Section 43 and Regs 4.06 and 5.02: designs subject to refusal.

2.2

Amendments

 

2.2.1

Amendments to overcome grounds for revocation are assessed or applied appropriately.

 

TIER 2: includes Product Quality Standards (PQS) that relate to matters which would require a considerable amount of rework and/or inconvenience to the owner or IP Australia, but would not materially jeopardise the validity of the IP Right

PQS 3 – Reports are comprehensive and informative

3.1

Reports clearly state and explain any issues being raised or maintained:

 

3.1.2

Sound reasoning is given as to why the ground(s) for revocation are appropriate.

 

3.1.5

Images and publication details of any cited prior art are provided.

 

3.1.6

Appropriate options are provided without inappropriately dictating a specific action.

3.2

In the case of further reports, all outstanding matters are addressed, all submissions are acknowledged, and responded to appropriately

3.3

Record of Reasoning

When an examiner has decided to issue a clear report and:

  1. The reason for doing so is not clear from the file itself, and/or
  2. The examination included material provided under s69(1),

the examiner has:

 

3.3.1

Recorded details of any additional searches or material that assisted in the decision,

 

3.3.2

Included on the file details of the reasons for the decision; and

 

3.3.3

Where the reasons deal with a question of distinctiveness, included a written assessment of the factors set out in s19.

 

TIER 3: includes Product Quality Standards (PQS) that relate to matters which are important in terms of the quality of the product.

PQS 4 - Written formalities are complete and correct

 

4.1

Reports are presented professionally

 

4.1.1

Reports are free from frequent or serious spelling, typographical or grammatical mistakes.

 

4.1.2

Reports are free from inconsistencies.

 

4.1.3

Format and details of the report are correct.

 

4.1.4

The appropriate word processing codes are used.

 

4.1.5

Reports are written in plain English and first person.

 

4.1.6

Reports are structured with appropriate headings and subheadings.

4.2

Forms and templates filled out correctly

 

4.2.2

Search results are annotated appropriately.

 

4.2.5

Relevant sections of the search worksheet are completed, correctly showing an appropriate search strategy and directions taken.

4.3

Complete and correct administrative actions

 

4.3.3

Database and case file systems are updated correctly.

 

4.3.4

Search strategy is attached to file (not including requirements covered by 1.3.1).

 

4.3.5

Records of conversations relevant to the examination outcome of the application are recorded on file.

 

4.3.6

Email correspondence relevant to the examination outcome of the application are attached to file.

Further information about IP Australia’s commitment to quality is found in the Quality Management System Manual.

Within the Quality Management System Manual is the IP Australia Quality Manual.  Included at 5.4.1 are the Quality Objectives for the Trade Marks and Designs Group. These have been reproduced below:

Designs

Quality Objective

Minimum performance undertaking

Designs reports over 3rd will be less than 5% of total reports.

<5%

We will examine and issue a report on your registered design within 13 weeks of receiving your request for examination.

We will achieve this 90% of the time

We will respond to correspondence relating to the examination of your design application within 20 working days of receiving the correspondence

We will achieve this 90% of the time

We will undertake a formalities check of your design application within 8 weeks of receiving a request for registration.

We will achieve this 95% of the time.

Oppositions and Hearings

Quality Objective

Minimum performance undertaking

We will issue our decision within 12 weeks of holding a hearing, unless we receive further submissions or evidence.

We will achieve this 90% of the time.