How to become a Trade Mark Attorney in Australia?
You have brains in your head, and feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
– Dr. Seuss
So, what does it take?
A trade mark attorney provides representation and legal advice to clients who wish to have their brand name protected legally and register a trade mark protected at law.
The work that a trade mark attorney will do on behalf of their client includes trade mark searching, filing trade mark applications, prosecuting applications, intellectual property commercialisation and advising on trade mark strategies.
In order to be registered as a trade mark attorney on the official Register of Trade Mark Attorneys, you must have completed a recognised qualification and have passed examinations in four subjects.
The Professional Standards Board for Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys (otherwise known as the Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board) is the statutory body that administers and regulates the various courses required for qualification as a trade mark attorney in Australia and New Zealand.
The member of the Board are appointed by the Ministry for Industry, Innovation and Science.
Professional Standards Board
The role of the Board is to determine the academic qualifications to become a trade mark attorney in Australia, the knowledge requirements for trade mark attorneys, the accreditation of courses for attorneys that meet the subject requirements, professional conduct of trade mark attorneys and disciplinary matters.
A trade mark attorney must meet the following requirements:
- Legal process and overview of intellectual property
- Professional conduct
- Trade marks law
- Trade marks practice
The qualification should be:
- a Level 5 or higher AQF qualification
- a qualification awarded by an overseas institution that the Board is satisfied is equivalent to a Level 5 or higher AQF qualification.
What do AQF levels mean?
This means that you need to obtain the qualifications to obtain an admission rank, referred to as AQF. AQF stands for Australian Qualifications Framework and specifies the standards for educational qualifications in Australia.
There are 10 levels in the AQF with each level defined by a set of learning outcomes.
An AQF qualification means at Level 5, a Diploma, at Level 6, an Advanced Diploma, Associate Degree, at Level 7, a Bachelors Degree, at Level 8, a Bachelor Honours Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, at Level 9, a Masters Degree and at Level 10, a Doctoral Degree.
Typically, a trade mark attorney will complete an accredited course of study to meet these requirements though a recognised tertiary institution.
It is also beneficial to hold a law degree.
What am I qualified to do?
Trade Mark Attorneys are qualified to:
Provide legal advice in relation to trade marks
Prepare and file trade mark applications
Draft and file responses to objections that may arise when filing for a trade mark
Prepare trade mark agreements
Represent clients in opposition proceedings
Take away points:
- A registered trade mark attorney must be registered on the official Register of Trade Mark Attorneys
- Becoming a registered trade mark attorney, requires the requisite academic and knowledge requirements to be recognised and qualify as a person with expert skills and professional standards in the field
Lara Alexandra, Legal Assistant and Trade Mark Administrator
We are a team of trade mark attorney and IP specialists based on Gold Coast and Sydney. If you have any questions about trade mark and brand protection, contact us on 1300 77 66 14
Disclaimer. The material in this post represents general information only and should not be taken to be legal advice.
Lara, a wonderful summary of how to become a Trade Mark Attorney in Australia. I too followed the same pathway (MIP UTS) in which i’m now a registered Trade Mark Attorney in Melbourne. Through my progress, i find those like myself, from outside the legal industry having less chance of becoming a practicing attorney. The problem appears to be the hurdle of ‘post – qualification experience’ (PQE) required by most employers. In my experience, i would say becoming a practicing Trade Mark Attorney in Australia, to have more success, is to specialise from your legal degree in practice, or demonstrate your transferable skills if coming from another non-legal part of the practice. Best of luck to everyone who wishes to practice this fascinating area of law!