Provision of Advice

Date Published

The issue of IP Australia staff providing advice is discussed in the Information and Advice Policy. In summary, staff should:

  • adopt a positive approach to providing information and advice (as reflected in the Customer Service Code of Practice) to ensure customers are given the best possible customer service;
  • exercise duty of care when providing information and advice to customers;
  • seek to understand customers' needs, and to meet those needs, rather than just providing standard answers to questions;
  • keep informed of the latest developments in IP Australia;
  • advise customers about the range of products and services within their area of responsibility;
  • advise customers to contact other agencies for products and services outside their area of responsibility; and
  • clearly explain the difference between the services provided by IP Australia and those provided by IP professionals and business advisers.

The Policy recognises that there is a dividing line between what can and cannot be provided to the customer. The following statements provide guidance on where the "line" should be drawn.  Thus, staff should not:

  • offer personal opinions or make decisions for customers;
  • give partial or biased information which could limit the customer's options;
  • assume knowledge of the customer's needs without first asking questions;
  • ask misleading questions or make misleading statements;
  • go beyond the limits of their personal knowledge, authority and experience;
  • advise on subjects that are beyond IP Australia’s area of responsibility or authority;
  • offer legal, financial or business advice to customers; or
  • provide services to customers that would contravene the relevant legislation and IP Australia’s duty of care.

Information on the progress of an application which is not yet OPI should not be given to anyone other than the applicant or their attorney (sec 183).

Examiners must be satisfied as to the true identity of any person seeking information which is not yet publicly available. Publicly available information can be obtained from the Office or AusPat.

Enquiries from the media must be referred to Strategic Communication (for further information see Managing Media).