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External scrutiny

IP Australia is subject to external scrutiny in the form of appeals or applications for judicial review of our decisions, made by the Commissioner of Patents, the Registrar of Trade Marks, the Registrar of Designs, the Registrar of Plant Breeder’s Rights and their delegates. The Federal Court of Australia generally has jurisdiction over appeals; however, in some cases, an application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review is available. Decisions of the Registrar of Trade Marks and the Registrar of Designs are also appealable in the Federal Circuit Court. Appendix 1 lists the appeals and applications for judicial review IP Australia received in 2019–20.

Table 12: 2019-20 - Appearances before parliamentary committees

Appearances

Committee

Topic

19 August 2019

Senate Economic Legislation Committee

Inquiry into the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Productivity Commission Response Part 2 and Other Measures) Bill 2019, which proposed to repeal the innovation patent provisions of the Patents Act 1990 administered by IP Australia.

24 October 2019

Senate Economic Legislation Committee

Supplementary budget estimates.

6 November 2019

Senate Economic Legislation Committee

Inquiry into the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Prevention of Exploitation of Indigenous Cultural Expressions) Bill 2019, to provide information about IP Australia’s Indigenous knowledge work and our consultation on the issue.

The Australian Information Commissioner made two decisions relating to IP Australia in 2019–20. The first related to a privacy issue. On 9 December 2019, the Commissioner determined that IP Australia’s practice was not an interference with privacy as defined by the Privacy Act 1988. In the second matter, DPP Pharmaceuticals Ltd v IP Australia (Freedom of Information) [2020] AICmr 29 (30 June 2020), the Commissioner affirmed an access grant decision made by IP Australia.

IP Australia was not subject to a report by the Commonwealth Ombudsman. IP Australia is currently the subject of the Auditor-General’s cross-entity performance audit of the cyber security strategies of non-corporate Commonwealth entities, which is expected to be tabled in parliament in December 2020.