2.26.5 Secret Cases

Date Published

Under sec 173, the Commissioner may prohibit the publication of information about the subject matter of an application.  This occurs where it is in the interests of the defence of the Commonwealth to do so.  Such cases are referred to as secret cases.

COG identify potentially secret cases, which are then referred to examination staff with a security clearance for a preliminary assessment.  The preliminary assessment is normally done by a staff member from Patent Oppositions, however occasionally security cleared staff outside Patent Oppositions will be asked to carry out the assessment due to unavailability of Patent Oppositions staff.  If it is considered that the case is potentially secret, then a prohibition order will be issued, and the case referred to the Department of Defence for consideration.  For guidance on the kinds of subject matter that may be secret, see the Defence and Strategic Goods List.

A delegation is not required in order to conduct the preliminary assessment, but is required to sign the prohibition order.  The prohibition order should only be signed by a staff member from Patent Oppositions (the Deputy Commissioner, the Supervising Examiner or the Senior Examiner).  

See also 2.13.13 Examining Cases Subject to a Prohibition Order.