Smart & Biggar operates as part of the IPH Limited group, owned by IPH Limited (IPH), a public company that is the holding company for an international network of intellectual property professional services and adjacent businesses which operate under different brands in a range of jurisdictions (each entity or group of entities operating under a single brand is referred to as a Group Business).
(For the purposes of the Australian and New Zealand Code of Conduct for Trans-Tasman Patent and Trade Marks Attorneys 2018, Australian and New Zealand incorporated attorneys and ‘ancillary businesses’ within the IPH group (IPH Group)
are also considered to be members of an ‘ownership group’, members of the ownership group are identified below).*
Our mandate is to deliver the highest quality services and to manage our group relationships so as to act always in our clients’ best interests. To ensure this, Smart & Biggar and each Group Business adheres to the following key principles to ensure independence in provision to clients of legal and agency professional services, appropriate disclosure of group relationships and management of actual or potential conflicts of interest.
Always act in the best interests of our clients
Smart & Biggar and each of its lawyers and agents have as their first and primary obligation, always to act in the best interests of their clients and in accordance with the law.
Independent provision of professional legal and agency services
Smart & Biggar operates independently from each other IPH Group Business in its provision to clients of legal and agency professional services. Smart & Biggar and each other Group Business maintain separate file management systems and no file-related information is shared with other Group Businesses.
(Note: Smart & Biggar may in some cases on behalf of a client engage or be engaged by another Group Business as a foreign agent or lawyer and information shared for that purpose.)
Active compliance with all legal and ethical requirements
Smart & Biggar actively complies with all applicable laws, regulations and codes of conduct, including professional regulations and codes, and privacy, competition and consumer protection legislation.
Active management of conflicts of interest
Smart & Biggar and each responsible lawyer and agent actively considers and manages actual and potential conflicts of interest. The IPH group structures and arrangements, including as to the separation and independent provision to clients of lawyer/agent professional services by each Group Business, ensure compliance with legal and ethical requirements including obligations under applicable Codes of Conduct and minimises the potential occurrence of conflicts.
Disclosure of group relationships and independence in tenders and proposals
Smart & Biggar is open and transparent about its relationship with IPH and other Group Businesses, including by expressly notifying their membership of the IPH Group in competitive proposals and tenders. Unless advised to the recipient, all Group Businesses prepare tender responses and proposals independently from each other and no Group Business shares the content of tenders or proposals with any other Group Business.
Sharing of information
In order to provide our services, Smart & Biggar relies upon certain back-office, non-professional services provided by entities within the IPH Group that do not provide legal/agency services, such as information technology, insurance, personnel, analysis, client support, finance and accounting services. In addition, where reasonably necessary to satisfy corporate governance, management and reporting responsibilities, such as financial and regulatory reporting, compliance, corporate accountability and oversight and risk management responsibilities, Group Businesses may share certain information with IPH.
Any information shared for such purposes is disclosed only to the extent reasonably required, is used only for the purposes provided, and remains subject to confidentiality.
Group Businesses do not share non-public client information with any other Group Business (unless engaged by them on behalf of a client as a foreign agent or lawyer).
Sharing of personal information
The proper management of these matters is of critical importance to Smart & Biggar and the IPH Group to ensure the interests of our clients are not affected.
If you would like further information with respect to our approach to these matters please contact us.
*Members of the ownership group are AJ Park IP Limited (and affiliated company AJ Park Law Limited), GH PTM Pty Ltd, GH Law Pty Ltd (each GH entity operates under the Griffith Hack brand in Australia), Pizzeys Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys Pty Ltd, Spruson & Ferguson Pty Limited, Spruson & Ferguson Lawyers Pty Ltd and Applied Marks Pty Ltd. Additional incorporated patent and trade mark attorney and legal entities operating as ‘Smart & Biggar’, ‘Spruson & Ferguson’ and ‘Pizzeys’ form part of the IPH Group outside of Australia and New Zealand.
Information on all legal entities forming part of the IPH Group is available at iphltd.com.au/about-iph.