Eligibility requirements

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Before applying to become a registered trade marks attorney, make sure you meet the eligibility criteria.

At a glance

  • Hold appropriate academic qualifications
  • Demonstrate knowledge of IP, including trade marks law and practice
  • Demonstrate integrity and good character

Academic qualifications

To be eligible to register as a trade marks attorney, you need to have a qualification from Australia or New Zealand at the diploma level or higher. You can also apply if you have an overseas qualification at an equivalent level.

The level of your qualifications is assessed against the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

Your qualification does not have to relate to intellectual property or be in a specific field.

Knowledge requirements

You will need to demonstrate that you have knowledge of intellectual property law and practice required to practise as a trade marks attorney.

This includes an appropriate level of:

  • Knowledge required to give advice about protection of intellectual property.
  • Appreciation of the advantages of each form of protection for a client.
  • Understanding of how to get and maintain appropriate protection for a client.
  • Understanding of the required standard of professional conduct.

You can meet the knowledge requirements by:

  • Satisfactorily completing Board accredited courses of study within the past 10 years, or
  • Gaining an exemption for one or more non-accredited courses of study within the past 10 years.

This involves:

  • Proof of completed accredited courses of study.
  • Details of a non-accredited course you have completed that covers the required content.

The Board has established a curriculum of studies that meets the minimum knowledge requirements of the Trade Marks Regulations 1995.

The curriculum consists of 4 topic groups, which together cover the required content to prepare students to practise as trade marks attorneys.

The groups are:

  • A1 - Legal Process and A2 - Overview of Intellectual Property

This covers the Australian legal system and how intellectual property rights may be protected.

  • B - Professional Conduct

This covers the rights, privileges and responsibilities of a trade marks attorney.

  • C – Trade Marks Law

This covers the principles of trade marks and the trade marks system in Australia and New Zealand

  • D – Trade Marks Practice

This covers the prosecution and maintenance of trade marks application in Australia and in other countries.

The following universities are currently offering Board accredited courses:

  • University of Auckland
  • University of Melbourne
  • University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
  • Victoria University of Wellington (VUW)

Accredited courses are valid for 10 years from the date of completion. The Board can't approve knowledge requirements based on accredited courses which were completed more than 10 years ago.

Australia

University of Melbourne

Topic Group(s)  Currently offered courses Accredited dates 
A1: Legal Process and
A2: Overview of IP
Australian Legal Process and Legal Institutions [ALPLI]*   or  Fundamental of Common Law [LAWS70217]*

AND

Overview of Intellectual Property (OIP)   or  Fundamentals of Intellectual Property [LAWS90125]*
7 April 2020  - 
7 April 2025
B: Professional Conduct and
D: Trade Marks Practice
Trade Marks Practice [LAWS90035]* 7 April 2020  - 
7 April 2025
C: Trade Marks Law Trade Marks and Unfair Competition [LAWS70046]* 7 April 2020  - 
7 April 2025
E: Patent Law Patent Law [LAWS70021]* 7 April 2020  - 
7 April 2025
F: Patent System Patent Practice [LAWS70060]* 7 April 2020  - 
7 April 2025
G: Drafting of Patent Specifications Fundamentals of Patent Drafting [LAWS70387]* 16 November 2018       -                                        16 November 2023
H: Interpretation and Validity of Patent Specifications Interpretation and Validity of Patent Specifications [LAWS70061]* 7 April 2020  - 
7 April 2025
I: Designs Law Designs Law and Practice [LAWS70261]* 7 April 2020  - 
7 April 2025

 

University of Technology, Sydney

Topic Group(s) Currently offered courses Accredited dates
A1: Legal Process and
A2: Overview of IP and
B: Professional Conduct
Preparing for Intellectual Property Practice [77905]* 23 March 2018  -  23 March 2023
C: Trade Marks Law Trade Marks Law [77889]* 23 March 2018  -  23 March 2023
D: Trade Marks Practice Trade Marks Practice [77890]* 23 March 2018  -  23 March 2023
E: Patent Law Patent Law [77898]* 23 March 2018  -  23 March 2023
F: Patent System Patent Systems [77891]* 23 March 2018  -  23 March 2023
G: Drafting of Patent Specifications Drafting of Patent Specifications [77894]* 23 March 2018  -  23 March 2023
H: Interpretation and Validity of Patent Specifications Interpretation and Validity of Patent Specifications [77895]* 23 March 2018 -
23 March 2023
I: Designs Law Designs Law and Practice [77893]* 23 March 2018  -  23 March 2023

 

New Zealand

University of Auckland

Topic Group(s) Currently offered courses Accredited dates
A1: Legal Process and
A2: Overview of IP and
B: Professional Conduct
Intellectual Property and Practice [LAWCOMM 772]* 18 November 2021 
-   
18 November 2026
C: Trade Marks Law Trade Marks and Related Rights [LAWCOMM 796]* 18 November 2021 

18 November 2026
I: Designs Law Copyright and Designs [LAWCOMM 795] 26 July 2022 - 26 July 2027

 

Victoria University of Wellington

Topic Group(s) Currently offered courses Accredited dates
I:  Designs Law New Zealand and Australian Copyright & Designs Law [LAWS 530]* 23 March 2017  -        23 March 2023

 

Previously offered accredited courses

The following universities previously offered Board accredited courses:

  • Monash University
  • Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
  • University of Melbourne
  • University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

These accredited courses are valid for 10 years from the date of completion. You need to have completed the courses within the indicated time frames stated to gain approval.

Victoria University of Wellington

Topic Group(s) Previously offered courses Accredited dates
A2: Overview of IP New Zealand and Australian Intellectual Property Law [LAWS 551]*

5 Jan 2017 - 

5 Jan 2022

C: Trade Marks Law Trade Mark Law and Unfair Competition [LAWS 536]*

5 Jan 2017  - 

5 Jan 2022

 E: Patent Law Patent Law [LAWS 537]* 7 July 2017  - 
7 July 2022

 

Monash University

Topic Group(s) Previously offered courses Accredited dates
A1: Legal Process LAW5080   - Australian Legal System 9 September 2014  -  1 December 2019
A1: Legal Process and
B: Professional Conduct
LAW7212 - Legal Process and Professional Conduct 1 July 2011 - 
1 July 2016
A2: Overview of IP LAW75340   - Intellectual Property 9 September 2014  -  1 December 2019
B: Professional Conduct LAW5341 - Trade Mark Practice 9 September 2014  -  1 December 2019
C: Trade Marks Law LAW5316 - Trade Marks and Commercial Designations 9 September 2014  -  1 December 2019
D: Trade Marks Practice LAW5341 - Trade Mark Practice or LAW7224 - Trade Mark Practice 9 September 2014  -  1 December 2019
E: Patent Law LAW5321 - Protecting Commercial Innovation patents and trade Secrets 9 September 2014  -  1 December 2019
E: Patent Law LAW7452 - Patent Practice 25 November 2011 -  25 November 2016
G: Drafting of Patent Specifications LAW7465 - Drafting Patent Specifications  25 November 2011 -  25 November 2016
H: Interpretation and Validity of Patent Specifications LAW7466 - Interpretation and Validity of Patent Specifications  25 November 2011 -  25 November 2016
I: Designs Law LAW5346 - Design Law and Practice 13 November 2015 -  13 November 2020

 

Queensland University of Technology

Topic Group(s) Previously offered courses Accredited dates
A1: Legal Process and
A2: Overview of IP
LWN401 - General Introduction to Intellectual Property Law 18 September 2013 - 21 March 2024
C: Trade Marks Law LWN404 - Trade Marks, Domain Names and Geographical Indications 18 September 2013 - 21 March 2024
D: Trade Marks Practice LWN409 Trade Marks Practice 16 November 2018 - 16 November 2023
E: Patent Law LWN402 - Patents and Biotechnological Interventions 18 September 2013 - 21 March 2024
F: Patent System LWN410 - Patent Systems 16 November 2018 - 16 November 2023
I: Designs Law LWN405 - Industrial Design and Plant Variety Protection 27 February 15 -
27 February 2020

 

University of Melbourne

Topic Group(s) Previously offered courses Accredited dates
A1: Legal Process and
A2: Overview of IP
Australian Legal Process and Legal Institutions [LAW7212] 
OR
Fundamentals of Common Law [LAWS70217] 
OR
Fundamentals of the Common Law – Int [LAWS70256]

AND

Overview of Intellectual Property
9 September 2014 -
1 December 2019
and
7 April 2020 -
7 April 2025
 
B: Professional Conduct and
D: Trade Marks Practice

Trade Marks Practice [LAWS90035]

27 February 2015 - 27 February 2020
and
7 April 2020 -
7 April 2025
C: Trade Marks Law
Trade Marks and Unfair Competition [LAWS70046] 9 September 2014 -
1 December 2019
and
7 April 2020 -
7 April 2025
E: Patent Law
Patent Law [LAWS70021] 9 September 2014 -
1 December 2019
and
7 April 2020 -
7 April 2025
F: Patent System
Patent Practice [LAWS70060]
9 September 2014 -
1 December 2019
and
7 April 2020 -
7 April 2025
G: Drafting of Patent Specifications
Fundamentals of Patent Drafting [LAWS70387]
1 July 2011 -
1 July 2016
and
16 November 2018 - 16 November 2023
H: Interpretation and Validity of Patent Specification
Interpretation and Validity of Patent Specifications [LAWS70061]
9 September 2014 -
1 December 2019
and
7 April 2020 -
7 April 2025
I: Designs Law
Designs Law and Practice [LAWS70261]
9 September 2014 -
1 December 2019
and
7 April 2020 -
7 April 2025

 

University of Technology, Sydney

Topic Group(s)
Previously offered courses
Accredited dates
A1: Legal Process and
A2: Overview of IP and
B: Professional Conduct
Legal Process and Intellectual Property [77896]
AND
Professional Conduct (IP) [77892]

OR

Preparing for Intellectual Property [77905]
1 Dec 2011  - 
1 Dec 2015




17 June 2015  - 
17 June 2021
C: Trade Marks Law Trade Marks Law [77889] 17 June 2015 - 
17 June 2021
D: Trade Marks Practice Trade Marks Practice [77890] 17 June 2015 - 
17 June 2021
E: Patent Law Patent Law [77898]
17 June 2015 - 
17 June 2021
F: Patent System Patent Systems [77891] 17 June 2015 - 
17 June 2021
G: Drafting of Patent Specifications Drafting of Patent Specifications [77894] 17 June 2015 - 
17 June 2021
H: Interpretation and Validity of Patent Specifications Interpretation and Validity of Patent Specifications [77895] 17 June 2015 - 
17 June 2021
I: Designs Law Designs Law and Practice [77893] 17 June 2015 - 
17 June 2021

You can apply for an exemption if you have completed a non-accredited course of study within the last 10 years.

To approve an exemption, the Board must be satisfied that:

  • You've passed the course of study
  • The course has outcomes that are the same as, or similar to, an accredited course

To check whether your course has similar outcomes to an accredited course, you can compare it to the Board’s curriculum of studies.

Please note that exemptions must be based on a course of study. The Board can't take work experience into consideration for an exemption application.

If your application is approved, your exemption will be valid for 5 years.

Minor shortcomings

The Board will consider an exemption even if the course has not covered all the material in the curriculum. However, will not consider an application if there are significant gaps, or where an important topic has not been covered.

An exemption can also be based on multiple courses of study if together they would cover the relevant material.

Older courses

The Board will normally only approve courses completed within the last 7 years. The Board can't grant exemptions for courses older than 10 years.

Courses between 7-10 years old can be considered on a case-by-case basis. The Board will not grant an exemption if the course content is no longer current. This would include where the law or relevant practices have changed significantly. This is less likely for topic groups where the content does not change much over time, such as knowledge of legal processes.

International qualifications

Exemptions may be granted based on courses of study completed in countries other than Australia. This is most likely for topic groups A1, A2 and B where the law and the legal institutions studied are similar to Australia.

Trade Marks Law and Trade Marks Practice require substantial Australian content. It is unlikely that exemptions would be approved for these topic groups based on international qualifications.

How to apply

To apply for an exemption, you'll need to download and complete the relevant form.

You'll also need to provide:

  • A certified copy, or a link, to the official academic transcript for the course(s) the exemption is based on.

  • Supporting evidence such as course outlines from the year you studied the course(s).

Detailed information about supporting documentation can be found in the relevant form.

Cut-off for applications is 6 weeks prior to a Board meeting. If you miss the submission deadline, your application will be submitted to the following meeting.

Submit exemption application

Personal requirements

To become a registered trade marks attorney, you must:

  • Be of good fame, integrity and character
  • Not have been convicted of a prescribed offence during the past 5 years
  • Not be under a sentence of imprisonment for a prescribed offence

To demonstrate that you fulfil these requirements, you will need to provide:

  • A declaration regarding the offences
  • A declaration by another person regarding your good fame, integrity and character

These requirements, including the prescribed offences, are described in regulation 20.3 of the Trade Marks Regulations.