Our role and functions
IP Australia is responsible for administering Australia’s IP rights system, specifically trade marks, patents, designs and plant breeder’s rights, and regulation of the IP attorney profession. The legislation we administer includes the Patents Act 1990, the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act 1994, the Trade Marks Act 1995 and the Designs Act 2003.
To achieve our outcome (see ‘Outcome and program structure’ below), IP Australia grants exclusive IP rights for a period. This fosters innovation, investment and international competitiveness by:
- providing an effective legal framework for protecting products and brands, creating a secure environment for investment
- promoting the disclosure of discoveries and follow-on generation of ideas
- enabling firms to build brand value and business reputation, which in turn help improve consumer confidence
- providing incentives for undertaking research and development.
IP Australia also promotes awareness of IP, provides advice to government on the development of IP policy, and contributes to bilateral and multilateral negotiations and development of cooperation programs to support the global IP system.
We operate as a non-corporate Commonwealth entity within the portfolio and recover almost all of our costs by charging fees for the IP rights services we administer.
The Director General is the accountable authority of IP Australia. Table 2 provides details of the person who held that position during the reporting period.
Table 2: IP Australia accountable authority, 2019-20
Position title/Position held
Period as the accountable authority
20 September 2018
The Director General is assisted by two Deputy Director Generals who manage the two divisions within IP Australia:
- The Deputy Director General of the IP Rights Division holds the statutory offices of Commissioner of Patents, Registrar of Trade Marks, Registrar of Designs and Registrar of Plant Breeder’s Rights.
- The Deputy Director General of the Policy and Corporate Division is responsible for policy advice, corporate support, international engagement, and education and awareness activities.
Table 3 shows IP Australia's organisational structure.
Table 3: IP Australia organisational structure, 30 June 2020
Deputy Director General, IP Rights Division
Deputy Director General, Policy and Corporate Divsion
General Manager, Trade Marks and Designs
General Manager, Patents, Chemical, Plant Breeder’s Rights and Electrical
General Manager, Patents, Mechanical and Oppositions
General Manager, People and Communication
General Manager (Chief Financial Officer), Finance and Business Services
General Manager, Policy and Governance
General Manager (Chief Information Officer), Innovation and Technology
Outcome and program structure
IP Australia has one outcome, and three programs that contribute to achieving that outcome.
Table 4: IP Australia outcome and program structure, 2019-20
Increased innovation, investment and trade in Australia, and by Australians overseas, through the administration of the registrable intellectual property rights system, promoting public awareness and industry engagement, and advising government
IP Rights Administration and Professional Registration
Education and Awareness
Advice to Government and International Engagement
Ensure Australians benefit from great ideas