The New Zealand Institute
of Patent Attorneys, Inc

Code of Professional Conduct

Duties to the Public

All members of the Institute shall have the following duties to the public:

1.1    Maintain Competence

to maintain their competence to perform the professional tasks entrusted to them

1.2    Misrepresentations re Other Members

to refrain from making any oral or written representation which is false, misleading or deceptive as to the nature or the character of the services offered or performed or the professional ability or qualifications of another member or a firm with which that member is associated or any employee thereof

1.3    Confidentiality

to keep their knowledge of each clients affairs confidential unless otherwise expressly authorised by the client to disclose same in particular circumstances

1.4    Conflicts of Interest

to endeavour to avoid situations in which their duty to one client is in conflict with their own interest or that of another client, and wherever any such conflict becomes apparent to take steps calculated to resolve it and to avoid prejudice to any such client

1.5    Candour with Clients

to be candid with their clients as to the advisability of a particular course of action and the financial implications of same, and to provide timely advice to their clients in order to keep them informed of developments in matters being handled for them

1.6     Best Endeavours

to endeavour by fair and honourable means to obtain for their clients the benefit of the rights to which the client is entitled by law, when properly instructed by the client

1.7     Fees

not to charge fees for professional services which are excessive in the opinion of the Council

1.8    File Transfers

to arrange for expeditious transfer of a client’s file upon being instructed to do so subject to any lien on the file which is claimed and which is considered justified by the Council if called upon to consider the matter.

Duties to the Profession

All members of the Institute shall have the following duties to their profession:

2.1     Professional Conduct

to conduct themselves in a professional manner becoming a patent attorney or a person otherwise engaged professionally in the field of intellectual property law,

2.2     Courtesy

to deal honestly and courteously with other members of their profession and with the public,

2.3     Soliciting Business

to refrain from soliciting business in any manner enumerated in this Code as being improper.

Duties to the Institute

3.1     Not to Discredit Profession

All members have a duty to the Institute to refrain from any conduct, acts or omissions which are likely to bring discredit upon the Institute or any of its members.


It shall be a breach of this Code for any member, whether deliberately or through lack of reasonable care, to fail to abide by the provisions of this Code and in particular, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, the following acts and omissions shall be deemed to be breaches of this Code:

4.1     Breach of Sections 1, 2 or 3

Failure to perform the duties set forth in Sections 1, 2 and 3 without reasonable excuse, in the opinion of the Council.

4.2     Party to Act of Non-Member

Being a party to any act performed by a non-member which, if done by a member, would constitute  a breach of the provision of this Code.

4.3     Advertising

Engaging in advertising and promotional activities which is not in good taste, or which is not completely truthful and accurate, or which brings the profession into disrepute.

4.4     Acting on Behalf of Institute

Making any representation in the name of the Institute without the consent and knowledge of the Council of the Institute.

4.5     Remedy re Solicitation/Advertising

Without limiting and notwithstanding the disciplinary provisions provided in this the Code, if in the opinion of the Council, an advertisement or solicitation for business is undesirable, unprofessional or likely to bring the Profession into disrepute, Council may order the member to cease or amend such advertisement or solicitation.

Ethics Committee

5.0     Composition

Council shall appoint from among its members a committee to be known as the Ethics Committee to which committee shall be referred all alleged breaches of the Code of Professional Conduct which come to the attention of Council.

5.1     Investigations/Reports

It shall be the duty of the Ethics Committee to investigate each alleged breach of the Code which is referred to it and to report back to the Council:

(a)     whether following appropriate investigation, it appears that such apparent breach of the Code has in fact occurred, and

(b)     the steps which it recommends to Council for dealing with such apparent breach.

Upon receipt of the report of the Ethics Committee, Council shall decide whether or not such breach warrants disciplinary action.

Disciplinary Action by Council

6.0     Initiation of Disciplinary Action

Disciplinary action shall be initiated by serving upon the member concerned a statement in writing detailing the nature of the alleged breach of the Code and the particular provision or provisions of the Code allegedly breached.

6.1     Right of Reply

The member shall have the right to submit an answer in writing to the Council within a time to be stated in the statement referred to above or such further time as the member may request and Council permits as being reasonably necessary for the preparation of his/her answer.

6.2     Summons to Appear

In the event that no such written answer is received or that such written answer does not in the opinion of Council satisfactorily dispose of the matter, Council may summon the member to appear before a special meeting of Council either in person or, if such member so desires, by representative to explain his/her conduct.

6.3     Disciplinary Options

Subsequent to such appearance of the member before Council or in default of such appearance.  Council may, by an affirmative vote of a majority of those Council Members present at such appearance of the Member, order said member to remedy the breach of the Code in a manner determined by Council, and/or discipline said member by:-

6.3.1     admonishment and/or reprimand delivered in writing

6.3.2     suspension from membership of the Institute for such a period and on such terms as Council deems appropriate, such suspension and the terms of condition thereof to be notified to the member by notice in writing, or

6.3.3     expulsion from the Institute, such expulsion and the reason therefor to be notified to the member by notice in writing.

6.4     Non-Compliance

Failure to comply with an order of Council under 6.3 above may, where appropriate, lead to further disciplinary action.

6.5     Disciplinary Action

Notice of such admonishment, reprimand, suspension or expulsion and the reasons therefor may, at the discretion of Council, be published once the period for appeal as provided in this Code expires, and Council may, in its discretion, withhold the name of the member concerned from the Notice.

Appeals Against Disciplinary Action

7.0     Appeal Rights/Procedure

A member who has been disciplined by Council, shall have the right to appeal to a General Meeting of the Institute  by filing notice of appeal, setting forth the grounds of such appeal, with the Secretary of the Institute within one month after the date of the notification to the member of Council’s decision and such appeal shall be heard at the next General Meeting of the Institute.

7.1     Voting on Appeals

The disciplinary actions of the Council may be overruled by a majority vote of the Fellows present and voting at such General Meeting.


8.0     Guidelines

Council may from time to time issue guidelines concerning the observance of the provisions of the Code of Professional Conduct which shall be circulated to all members.

8.1     Declaratory Rulings

Council may make rulings at the request of any member as to whether the promotional activities or conduct, whether proposed or actual, of any member or member’s firm, complies with this Code.

8.1.1     Council shall not be bound by any previous ruling made under 8.1 above.



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