Professional Duties and Ethical Standards

Many IP services firms in Australia have incorporated as companies.  A significant proportion of registered patent attorneys in Australia and New Zealand are now part of firms which are work as corporate groups, publicly listed on the ASX. FPA is a proud member of the QANTM corporate group. QANTM’s listed corporate group structure brings significant benefits to clients and to QANTM employees, with a dual ethical and governance overlay:

FPA as an independent professional services business within the QANTM IP Group complies with all the professional conduct rules and ethical standards applying to FPA as professional services providers; and

QANTM also operates to the rigorous corporate governance, disclosure and integrity standards applicable to companies publicly-listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. 

The professional services business within the QANTM IP Group will always act in accordance with the law and in the best interests of their clients, and discharge their professional and ethical duties according to the following principles:

Primary duty to act in best interest of clients, and lawfully:  FPA as a QANTM IP Group member will always prioritise its overriding duties to act in accordance with the law and in the best interests of their clients, over all other duties.  There is never a right or expectation for any of these independent businesses, or the professionals employed by them, to act in the interests of QANTM or its shareholders in preference to clients’ interests.  This is expressly recognized in QANTM’s Constitution – so QANTM’s shareholders expressly acknowledge this priority of interests.  The QANTM Constitution is available at http://qantmip.com/about-qantm/governance/, and Article 4 establishes the primacy of these professional duties.

Independence in provision of professional duties:  
FPA operates independently of the other businesses in the QANTM ownership group in the provision of professional services.  FPA has long prided itself on maintaining the highest professional standards, ethical duties, and compliance with codes of conduct. 

FPA also operates from physically separate premises from the other businesses in QANTM.

Client confidential information protected:  
Rigorous security and data protection protocols ensure that there is no sharing of client confidential information between FPA Patent Attorneys and any other related business.  FPA maintains its own separate client files, databases and records, and conducts it matters entirely separately.

Conflict management: 
FPA adheres strictly to the law, professional standards, ethical rules and duties, including the Code of Conduct, in managing actual and potential conflicts of interest.  Conflict searches are routinely carried out to protect clients’ interests. 

Given FPA’s deep experience in contentious matters, FPA is particularly mindful of the requirements of the Code of Conduct when acting for a client before a tribunal or the like.  Specifically, where FPA is aware that a client of another QANTM Ownership Group member is involved in a matter before a court, tribunal, IP office or similar adjudicative body, and the clients’ interests are adverse, FPA will only act where its client has given, in writing, its informed consent to FPA acting. 

Lawyers’ professional conduct rules:
Some employees of FPA also hold legal practicing certificates and must therefore also act in addition in accordance with professional conduct rules and ethical standards applying to legal practitioners.