Professional responsibilities

The Professional Standards Board for Patent and Trade Marks Attorneys (PSB) is the statutory body that informs the public of their rights in regards the regimes and standards apportioned to trade marks and patent attorneys registered in Australia. We must also adhere to certain government standards. These include:

Accessibility

This website aims to conform to Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2 (WCAG 2.0) developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). If you have any problems using this site or have any suggestions, feedback or questions, please let us know by using our Feedback form or contact us.

For more information on this issue you can access details at Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

Privacy

You should read this policy if you are a:

  • a person who is making a complaint about a patent or trade marks attorney

  • a person who is the subject of a complaint

  • a person who has provided, or is planning to provide, personal information to the PSB

  • a member of the PSB

The Privacy Act

The Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) regulates how the Australian Federal Government, the ACT Government, and certain private-sector organisations handle personal information.

The Act contains 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) which provide the rules for how the PSB must handle your personal information, including how you can request access to, and request correction of, that personal information.

Detailed information on the Act and  the APPs can be found on the website of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

The PSB and the Privacy Act

The PSB is committed to compliance with the Privacy Act 1988.

Where required by legislation or otherwise appropriate, the PSB refers matters for decision to the Patent and Trade Marks Attorneys Disciplinary Tribunal (the tribunal).

The Privacy Act 1988 only provides protection for personal information. If the PSB does not collect your personal information, the Act and this policy will not apply.

Section 6 of the Act defines 'personal information' as:

"information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable:

(a) whether the information or opinion is true or not: and

(b) whether the information or opinion is recorded in a material form or not."

Personal information includes information such as:

  • your name or address

  • bank account details and credit card information

  • information about your opinions and preferences

Kinds of personal information collected and held

The personal information we may collect includes: 

  • name and date of birth

  • address and contact details, such as email address, phone and fax numbers

  • employment details

  • educational qualifications and details of academic performance

  • character references

  • the names and addresses of registered patent or trade marks attorneys

  • any other personal information included in a complaint or the supporting evidence for a complaint

If you are an attorney, and a complaint is made about you, sensitive information (a particular type of personal information under the Act) may also be collected, such as criminal convictions.

The PSB's personal information handling practices

The PSB collects personal information via:

  • PSB forms

  • the PSB website

  • correspondence sent or directed to the PSB

information supplied as part of a complaint or disciplinary proceeding

Purposes for collecting, holding, using and disclosing personal information

The PSB will only collect the personal information needed to perform our functions and to undertake our activities.

The PSB collects personal information to enable us to:

  • approve qualifications and knowledge requirements as part of the attorney registration process, or grant exemptions from those requirements where appropriate

  • investigate complaints

  • commence proceedings against a registered patent or trade marks attorney

Uses of personal information

The PSB uses personal information for the primary purpose for which it is collected.

You will ordinarily be given information about the primary purpose of collection at the time the information is collected, unless it has been provided by a third party.

Personal information is used to inform the PSB's decision-making functions and activities, such as managing and approving attorney registration, investigating complaints about attorneys; and determining whether a complaint against an attorney should proceed to the tribunal.

Disclosure

The PSB can, and usually will, disclose personal information where:

  • you have consented to the disclosure

  • you would reasonably expect that your information will be disclosed

  • the disclosure is authorised or required by, or under, law

Contact details of registered patent and trade marks attorneys are published on the PSB website.

The personal information published may include:

  • addresses (attorneys may opt to use a business address, PO Box or other alternative address to their place of residence)
  • phone, fax and mobile numbers, email addresses and website details if the attorney wishes to have these published

The primary purpose of this publication is to enable people to confirm the current status of attorneys on the registers of patent and trade marks attorneys.

Disclosure - Disciplinary proceedings of the Disciplinary Tribunal

If the PSB decides to take action against an attorney, the matter will proceed to the Disciplinary Tribunal.

The tribunal publishes written decisions of completed disciplinary proceedings on the PSB website. These decisions may contain personal information about the parties involved. For more information about the tribunal's information-handling practices, read the Tribunal's Privacy Policy.

Overseas recipients of personal information

Personal information collected by the PSB is not normally disclosed to overseas recipients.

However, names of PSB members and names and contact details of all registered patent and trade marks attorneys are published on the PSB website, making this information available worldwide.

Accidental or unauthorised disclosure of personal information

We do our best to ensure that accidental or unauthorised disclosure of personal information does not occur. If an accidental or unauthorised disclosure of personal information does occur, we will take it seriously, and deal with it promptly.

We base our process for handling personal information security breaches on OAIC's Data Breach Notification - Guide to handling Personal Information Security Breaches.

Access to, and correction of, personal information

You may request access to personal information we hold about you. We will provide access as requested, if it is reasonable and practicable to do so. There may be instances where we may refuse your request, as discussed below.

You may request correction of any of your personal information held by the PSB to ensure the information is accurate, up to date, complete, relevant and not misleading.

Process for access or correction

The PSB must be satisfied that you are seeking access to, or correct, your own personal information. We may ask you to provide verification of your identity. This process is free of charge.

Request access or correction

If you require access to, or seek correction of, any of the personal information held about you by the PSB, please contact the PSB Secretariat using the contact details provided further below.

What we will do

The PSB Secretariat will acknowledge your request within five business days. We will send you a written response within 30 calendar days after receiving your request:

  • providing access to the documents

  • advising you of our decision to refuse access to or correction of documents

  • advising you of any difficulties we have encountered in actioning your request, in which case, we will provide you with an expected timeframe for finalising your request

If your request requires a significant number of documents or requires consultation with other parties, we may ask you to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, in order to provide a clear structure for our response to your request.

Inquiries and complaints about privacy

If you wish to inquire or make a complaint about the way the PSB has handled your personal information, you may contact the PSB Secretariat using the contact details below.

PSB's privacy complaints handling process

The PSB Secretariat will handle your privacy complaint and will respond to your privacy complaint within 30 calendar days after the request is made, if you provide your contact details.

We are committed to a fair resolution of privacy complaints and will ensure your complaint is taken seriously. You will be treated professionally and respectfully at all times.

Privacy complaints to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC)

If you are dissatisfied with the way the PSB handles your privacy complaint, you may contact the OAIC.

Email: privacy@privacy.gov.au

Phone: 1300 363 992

Write to: The Privacy Commissioner
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
GPO Box 5218
Sydney NSW 2001

You may also make a complaint directly to the Information Commissioner. However, the commissioner would recommend you try to resolve the complaint with the PSB first.

Storage and data security

Personal information is held securely on the PSB's behalf in IP Australia's electronic and paper record-keeping systems and on Govdex. IP Australia is certified under International Quality Standard ISO 9001:2008 for our key customer transactions.

IP Australia has controls in place to protect against interference with personal information by way of unauthorised access, misuse, loss, modification or disclosure.

Please see IP Australia's privacy policy for further information.

Privacy policy.pdf in PDF format [152.07 KB]

Disposal of personal information

Storage of information (and the disposal of information when no longer required) is managed in accordance with Commonwealth records management requirements, including the Archives Act 1983, records authorities and general disposal authorities.

Privacy policy updates

This policy will be reviewed and updated annually, or more frequently as required, including when the OAIC guidance material is revised or legislative amendments are made to the Privacy Act.

Copy of this policy

If you wish to access this policy in an alternative format or hard copy, please contact the PSB Secretariat as using the contact details above.We will provide the policy to you at no cost.

Disclaimer

No responsibility assumed

The Australian Federal Government, the PSB, its officers and IP Australia's employees assume no responsibility in relation to the use of this website or the information contained in it.

No advice provided

On this website, the PSB does not provide legal or other advice in relation to the registration or discipline of patent or trade marks attorneys or any other matters.

The information contained in this website is not intended to be advice. It is general information only. The information contained in this website is not adapted to any particular person's circumstances. Therefore where the legislation requires decisions, determinations or other actions, you need to make application in accordance with the relevant legislative authority to the appropriate body as the information here cannot be relied upon to be specific enough to determine particular cases.

Professional advice recommended

The information in this website should not be used as a substitute for advice and assistance from such bodies as education institutions in respect of accredited courses, immigration authorities in respect of citizenship or legal advice in respect of discipline issues. We strongly recommend that such advice and assistance be obtained before you take any decisions on possible actions under the legislation.

The intellectual property laws, education regimes, and so on, in other countries are different from those in Australia. You should consult an appropriate professional body, or the PSB, if foreign requirements or qualifications may affect you.

Information not complete or comprehensive

The information in this website may not be comprehensive or complete and may not be up to date or current. The website may not contain information covering particular subjects or issues relevant to particular users.

No statements of the law

Unless specific provisions of legislation are quoted, the PSB or IP Australia does not make statements of the law in relation to any matter on this website. The comments contained in this website about the law are summaries that may not be comprehensive or complete. If you wish to know the law, you should go to the relevant legislation.

Technical terms used

The information in this website may include the use of terms that have technical meanings that may be different from their ordinary meanings. Such terms may require specialist knowledge and expertise to understand.