Welcome to the new version of the Patents Manual. Please note there are changes to the numbering and sequence of the chapters and pages in the manual. You are encouraged to take the time to explore and familiarise yourself with this new structure.

2.4 Updating the Manual

Date Published


The Manual is an active document and is required to be updated as changes in the law and practice occur. IP Australia actively encourages feedback on the content of the Manual to improve its content, structure and accessibility. 

​​​​​​​This section outlines the processes for updating and maintaining the content of the Manual to ensures that it provides accurate and consistent information to support examiners with day-to-day examination tasks.    

Suggesting Changes to the Manual  

Staff can put forward suggestions for changes to the Manual through Improve@IP.  Before raising an Improve@IP item, examiners are encouraged to discuss the proposed improvement with their senior and/or supervising examiner. 

When raising an Improve@IP item, staff members should provide the following information:


  • which volume/s are affected,

  • the name of the Manual topic, and subheading (if applicable)

  • an explanation of why the change is necessary

  • details of what needs to be changed

  • if wording needs to be changed you should, if possible, suggest replacement wording

  • if a link needs to be changed you should, if possible, include the details of the replacement link.​​​​​​​

General feedback on manual and can also be provided via the give feedback button located on the bottom right of each manual page.  When utilising the give feedback button users will need to select a topic from a list of topics. Users can then enter their feedback on the selected topic in the comments box.  

Other Sources of Change

In addition to suggestions provided by staff through the improvement log, changes to the Manual may also occur based on information from one of the following sources:


  • Legislative changes

  • Judicial decisions

  • Hearing decisions

  • Changes in treaties to which IP Australia are a party e.g. the PCT

  • Entry into free trade agreements

  • Legal opinions and advice

  • Changes in digital services initiated by ITG

  • Recommendations from one or more IP Australia sub-committees such as:

  • PMC

  • ITG

  • Search Technical Team

  • CEG​​​​​​​

  • Internal projects and reviews initiated by IP Australia

  • External reviews initiated by government​​​​​.

Initiating and Approving Changes to the Manual

Whatever the source of change (e.g. improvement log suggestion or changes arising from other sources such as recommendations made by internal committees etc.) any potential changes are reviewed to determine if a change to the Manual is required. (refer to 2.3 How our Practices and Procedures are Determined for additional information)   

In cases where it is determined that a change to a minor change to the Manual is necessary to the matter is referred to either the relevant Sub-Editor or an appropriate staff member e.g. a member of Oppositions & Examination Practice (OEP). 

Straightforward changes such as correction typographical errors, clarifying language or existing practices can be approved by the Manual editor.  Amendments that relate to a change in practice need to be approved by the Assistant General Manager (AGM) of Oppositions and Hearing (OEP).

Where the change is major, complex or contentious additional consultation with relevant stakeholder groups is undertaken (e.g. OEP, Patent management committee (PMC), Office of legal counsel (OLC) etc.) to determine an appropriate course of action.  In some cases input may also need to be sought from other stakeholder groups including CEG and Policy and other Stakeholder groups e.g. ITG etc. depending on the nature of the change. (see Approach to consultation for IP Rights manual changes for further detail on the consultation process) 

​​​​​​​Any changes made to the Manual by the editor or sub-editors is still subject to an approval process even if the changes have been ratified by the relevant stakeholder groups. 

Processing and Publication of Manual Changes

Changes to the Manual are processed the Microsoft Power Automate platform.  Power Automate provides a traceable workflow for the proposed change in accordance with the principles laid out in the IP Australia Change Management Framework.

The following outlines the process for presenting changes to the Manual for approval and publication under the power automate platform:

  • Sub-editor or staff member (author) assigned matter to edit the relevant Manual page (draft page) and associated documentation using SharePoint’s built-in editor.

  • Once editing of the page is complete the proposed changed is submitted (using the submit button) to the Senior Examiner in  Quality and Examination Practice (QEP) for review.

  • The Senior Examiner reviews the changes and either approves or rejects the changes.

  • Once changes are approved by the senior examiner in QEP, the workflow is passed to the Supervising Examiner (Director) QEP for approval.

  • On the Director approving the change, the workflow is passed back to the Senior Examiner in QEP who then publishes the changes to the Manual.

  • In the event that the change is rejected, a notification is provided to the author. The notification is to include comments as to why the change was rejected.

  • If the change is rejected, the author will need to re-edit the page in order to re-submit it to the senior examiner QEP for further consideration.

Communicating Manual Changes

All changes to the Manual need to be communicated to staff in accordance with IP Australia’s Change Management Framework.

Any major changes to the Manual are normally communicated to staff through regular email updates. If the update concerns a practice change which directly impacts examination tasks, then the Manual editor will immediately send out an email notification which sets out the new practice and how it applies generally to the particular examination task.    

In addition to the email update any recent changes to the Manual are visible on the ‘Welcome’ page of the Manual.  This page summarises the changes and provides links directly to the changed sections. The summary on the welcome page, will also be utilised to inform external user of the changes made to the Manual.

The summary is provided by the author when drafting the change to the Manual page. Authors therefore need to ensure that the summary provided is clear and concise to enable users to readily identify the changes made to the particular page/section.

​​​​​​​Changes within the sections are highlighted in yellow except when the whole section has been updated, when no highlighting is necessary.  This highlighting should remain until the next monthly update.

Manual Review and Maintenance

The Manual should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure content accuracy and consistency.  The review should also look to improve the usability of the Manual including:


  • Optimisation of links which includes considering links between volumes and also considering whether content in external documents is better served by being produced in the Manual.

  • Restructuring of content or sections within the Manual to ensure that key information is easy to locate and apply.

  • Considering whether examples are necessary to demonstrate principles and the examples provided reflect current practice and procedures.

  • Ensure the use of plain English and up to date terminology.  This includes ensuring that all acronyms for various sections within IP Australia are up to date.  

Review of the Manual content should be conducted on an ongoing basis. Such ongoing review will ensure that any practice changes resulting from legislation change, policy change, system related change or Court decisions are reflected within the Manual.

As part of the ongoing review process, any pages that are amended due to issues raised in the improvement log against one or more of the identified circumstances should be fully reviewed during such an update.  Any pages linked with or associated with the amended page should also be reviewed to ensure that they are consistent with the amended page and that the content of these pages is also accurate given the proposed change.  

​​​​​​​Any section which has not been reviewed within a period of 12 months, should be reviewed by the Manual editing team to determine that the material on the page accurately reflects current accepted practice and is consistent with other material in the Manual.

Amended Reasons

Amended Reason Date Amended

updated link on page to reference correct documentation for IP rights manual change

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