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Modified Date: 01 December 2017

Product Quality Standards

IP Australia recognises that the services it provides must comply with the requirements of the Patents Act, and meet the expectations of its customers. To ensure that customers' expectations are met, a set of quality standards for patent examination have been developed using feedback from our customers and in consultation with our staff.

The quality standards apply to all aspects of examination carried out by IP Australia - e.g. first reports, furthers, voluntary amendments, re-examination, international searches, and international preliminary examination. They provide us with benchmarks against which to assess the quality of these aspects of the examination process. Achieving the standards for patent examination will ensure that the resulting patents are entitled to a presumption of validity which also meets the customer's expectations.

The quality standards are one of the foundations of the Manual of Practice and Procedure, along with the Patents Act and the relevant decisions of courts and tribunals. They support IP Australia's commitment to issuing high quality patents for the benefit of Australia.

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 matters which would adversely affect (or have the potential to affect) the validity of the IP Right.

Tier 2 category (i.e. moderate) includes PQS that relate to matters which would require a considerable amount of rework and/or inconvenience to the applicant or IP Australia.

Tier 3 category (i.e. minor) includes PQS that relate to other important procedures required by the Patents Manual of Practice and Procedure.

The Product Quality Standards are to be read in consideration with the practices and procedures detailed in the Patent Manual of Practice and Procedure (MPP).

The Product Quality Standards do not define practices and procedures. The MPP 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 procedure is adopted for all searches

PQS 2 - All relevant objections/considerations which would adversely affect (or have the potential to affect) the validity of the patent are taken

Tier 2


PQS 3 - All other important objections/considerations are taken

PQS 4 - The report/opinion is free of invalid objections/considerations

PQS 5 - All reports and opinions are comprehensive and informative

Tier 3


PQS 6 - Search results are correctly communicated and stored

PQS 7 - Written formalities are complete and correct



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


The word “considerations” used throughout the PQS means any considerations, observations, opinions, objections, etc., raised in International Reports/Opinions.

Examiners can as a matter of general interest access the Quality System and Security Manual.

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