Ths document sets out who we are and our relationship with clients. It sets out what to expect of us, and the nature of our relationship with you unless we have agreed otherwise. You do not need to sign any formal documents indicating your acceptance – your instructions and continuing instructions to us will signify your acceptance and agreement of these terms.
Who We Are Rightpat-Iprima is a small boutique sole-trader IP firm, the principal being Antonia Sims. Antonia is a registered NZ & Australia Patent Attorney with over 30 years experience and three degrees in science & technology. While our core business is conducted in-house we often liaise with other specialists, and overseas associates in relation to client work where it is considered in the client’s best interest to do so. Examples of the types of specialists we may engage with includes: Patent attorneys overseas Searching specialists Barristers and lawyers Litigation & dispute specialists
Working With You We are patent attorneys and will advise and act on your behalf in matters which we are competent. We have a network of specialists outside of the firm which we will engage on your behalf as appropriate, to supplement our in-house competencies. This is standard practice within the industry.
We will represent and advise you within the scope of your instructions.
We will manage your IP and act upon your instructions with all reasonable care, competence, and diligence. You will agree to provide us with clear and timely instructions, and will do your best to provide us with instructions, information, remittance, and/or other materials in order for us to complete our work and meet deadlines. We may refuse to proceed on a case until remittance towards future work and/or costs is received, particularly for outsourced work.
If we are required to take urgent action to do work to avoid a loss of IP rights, and we have failed to receive your instructions within a reasonable time in advance of a deadline, we may proceed on your behalf to avoid a loss of rights and you agree to pay us for our costs and expenses in relation to same. Similarly, as previously indicated, we may refuse to act until such time as cleared remittance for anticipated costs are received – particularly (but not restricted to) where outsourced work is involved.
We work for you, the client. We will not accept any instructions from any other party, or agent, unless you have specifically advised us to do so. We wish to avoid a situation of conflicting instructions, so we will discuss in detail with you how to deal with instructions from other parties. Similarly, where the client is a business, we will set out who is authorised to provide instructions to us.
Client Service & Conduct Once we agree to act on your behalf as a client we shall:
Avoid internal conflicts of interest with other clients; Keep your information confidential and respect your privacy; Provide clear and succinct information and advice; Be available to discuss to objectives and plans, and advise you appropriately; Act in a timely manner based on instructions received, and arrangements made; Act in accordance with the ethics guidelines of the Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board; Treat you fairly and without discrimination. We expect our clients to be courteous, and to work with us to attain their objectives. The following actions will not be tolerated and represent justification for us to terminate our relationship with you: Abusive behaviour; requiring us to act in any illegal manner; requiring us to act in a manner damaging to another client of ours; attempting to involve us in fraudulent actions; general inappropriate behaviour. We shall take guidance of the Trans-Tasman IP Attorney Board on such matters if required.
Our priorities, as your attorney, are in the following order:
In accordance with the law In accordance with your client's best interests In the public interest In the interest of the professions These have been highlighted by the Trans-Tasman IP Attorney Board for situations where a conflict may arise. Typically these situations do not arise unless you provide us with particularly problematic instructions.
If you have any complaints regarding our service we encourage you to contact us directly so we can discuss the matter and rectify the situation for you.
Ownership & Transfer of Files As the client you are the owner of files and file materials.
We agree to provide file contents with you upon your request, or provide them to other professionals as you instruct. However, we may require your account with us to be fully paid before we comply with such a request. You agree to pay us for any reasonable time and expenses in relation to complying with your request.
This information may be provided to you electronically as we deem fit, unless it is an original document of legal importance.
Copyright in all work we have created in relation to our services with you, shall reside and remain with us. However we will grant you a licence, which may be dependent on settlement of outstanding accounts, to use and copy the documents as you require for your personal and commercial use. However this licence shall not include the right to alter or change
We shall follow the guidelines of the Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board in relation to file transfers.
Our document management of your records is as follows:
We may dispose of documents which are duplicates, unimportant or trivial, or which comprise documents belonging to us; We may choose to keep documents electronically and destroy originals, except where the document is legally important; We may request that you maintain documents that we do not wish to retain, and shall forward them to you for your safe keeping. At our discretion we may maintain an electronic copy; We may at our discretion decide to maintain copies on your file of information you have requested or provided for onforwarding to another party, however we are not obliged to do so.
Fees & Disbursements
Our fee schedule is flexible, and reflects the nature of the work being done for you. Such factors which affect the total and hourly rates include:
The level of expertise, experience, and knowledge required; The degree of risk associated with the work; Any urgency associated with the work As a general guideline of hourly rates:
Highest level Responding to examination reports Infringement reports Detailed custom reports Preparing IP applications and specifications
Intermediate Level General review and commenting of search materials Considering and reporting examination reports
Lowest Level File audits and reviews Some TM searching Some general patent searching Activities not falling within a higher level
Often our costs are not calculated purely on hourly rate. Quite often we try and maintain application costs and patent draughting costs within a certain range, and may discount as we feel appropriate.
The time taken for some hourly based work (such as searching) may be difficult to anticipate, and we often advise clients to instruct us to seek further instructions when a certain time limit has been reached, or we reach certain points. This can help keep costs manageable and keep you as part of the process.
Disbursements will also be charged to you and can include: Office administration costs, including file storage, photocopies, telecommunications etc Charges for outsourced work, including overseas associates Banking costs and charges associated with work on your behalf Additional costs associated with working for you, such as travel etc. GST as may be applicable
Code of Conduct for Attorneys The Code of Conduct governs the professional conduct of registered patent attorneys including in relation to:
Core obligations (acting in the best interests of clients, the public and the profession). Responsibility (for their own work, acts and defaults). Integrity (must not act in a way that is fraudulent, deceitful or knowingly misleading, and must maintain standards of practice that are courteous, ethical and well-informed). Competency (appropriate for the work undertaken, and carried out with due skill and care). Diligence (work carried out in a timely manner). Communication (in writing of certain matters). Disclosure (all information materially relevant to the work undertaken). Confidentiality (no unauthorised use or disclosure of confidential information of client or former client). Loyalty (to clients and former clients). Conflicts (avoidance of conflicts of interest). Independence (of registered attorneys who are members of an ownership group).
If you have any concerns or queries about our relationship and work with you we ask that you contact us directly in the first instance so the matter can be remedied. Quite often many issues arise from miscommunications and misunderstandings.
General information on Intellectual Property can be found on our website, though you may also contact us. Remember this is not specific advice and is meant to be a background to Intellectual Property in general. Quite often client’s require information which is specific to their situation, and in such situations we recommend arranging a meeting or consultation with us so we can provide appropriate specific advice. Similarly we recommend regular meetings with us so we can discuss whether we need to change our approach based on your commercial opportunities, changes in commercial direction, or changes in your business strategy. It is not uncommon for us not to be advised of significant changes affecting IP strategies by clients, and routine meetings can avoid problems and keep all parties up to date in all matters. We are also aware that many of our clients prefer face-to-face meetings rather than having to read correspondence.