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.

5.3.5 Return, Deletion, or Redaction of Documents

Date Published


Documents filed for a patent application cannot be returned, deleted, or redacted unless they have been filed by mistake.​​​​​​​

Examination practice

Under Chapter 4 of the Act, documents filed for a patent application generally become open to public inspection (OPI) and are available on IP Australia’s website within 24 hours of filing. The applicant marking correspondence as ‘confidential’ has no effect on the disclosure of that correspondence to other parties under the Patents Act. In certain circumstances, however, the Commissioner may order that filed documents not be OPI (see 7.13 Documents not OPI – Orders for inspection).

IP Australia is subject to the Archives Act 1983, under which the destruction or alteration of a Commonwealth record is an offence. Therefore, a request for the Commissioner to return, delete, or redact documents that have become part of a Commonwealth record (e.g. documents filed in relation to a patent application) will be refused.

However, where documents are filed in error and are not part of the official record, they may be returned or destroyed. Requests for documents to be returned, deleted, or to not be OPI should be referred to the Assistant General Manager (Oppositions).

Amended Reasons

Amended Reason Date Amended

Published for testing

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