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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, as well as regulation of the IP attorney profession. We administer legislation including 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, and 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 helps improve consumer confidence
  • providing incentives for undertaking research and development.

IP Australia also promotes awareness of IP, regulates the IP attorney profession, 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 our costs by charging fees for the IP rights services we administer.