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. Openness

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Openness or transparency is required to ensure public confidence in the decision making process and that such processes are, and are seen to be, fair and reasonable. Transparency also protects decision makers against allegations of bias or partiality, or that they have taken into account irrelevant considerations.

Aspects of transparency applied in proceedings before the Commissioner include:

  • The holding of public hearings.
  • Production of written reasons for decisions following hearings or on request.
  • Ensuring that submissions of a party and any responses are made available to other parties and are recorded appropriately.
  • Informing the parties of any information that hearing officers have consulted of their own volition and providing an opportunity for them to address that material.

Hearing officers should be particularly cautious about material or submissions that they are given or become aware of after a case has been heard. If relevant to their decision, all such information should be copied to the parties and a reasonable opportunity provided for them to make submissions and, where appropriate, to file evidence addressing the matter.


A related matter is the independence of the decision maker. A decision maker must not act under the direction of another officer. However, this does not mean that appropriate guidance cannot be provided to assist the decision maker. It is also appropriate for hearing officers to consult with their peers on questions of law or on other issues where this will assist them in the decision making process.

Ultimately, however, the decision remains the full responsibility of the delegated hearing officer. The internal processes for peer review of the statement of reasons and of the performance or competency of hearing officers are specifically designed not to compromise the independence of the hearing officer in deciding a particular matter (see also Quality Requirements).

Amended Reasons

Amended Reason Date Amended
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