Use of Search Material and Information

Date Published

Section 185(b) prohibits employees from searching the records of the Office other than in their official capacity. A penalty may be imposed for a breach of this provision, apart from any action that may arise under the Public Service Act.

Employees of IP Australia are free to use public search material for their own benefit in the same manner as members of the public. However, they are not entitled to use (except in their official capacity) any of the search facilities which contain Office records not available to the public, e.g. the Non-OPI Search Engine (NOSE) in PAMS (see also last paragraph below).

Any use of public search facilities for private purposes must occur in employees' own time and using public facilities or public access. Staff members should assume that accessing the ‘records of the Office’ for private purposes, using equipment provided for their duties within IP Australia, would be in contravention of this provision, even if it is asserted that they are doing it ‘in their own time’.

Information in applications that are not OPI cannot be used for personal purposes. The use of such information for financial advantage is improper and, apart from penalties under the Patents Act and the Public Service Act, may also constitute an offence of insider trading under the Corporations Law.