05 May 2012

IP Australia Launches eServices Portal

eServices sign-inAs anticipated last month (see A Sneak Peek at IP Australia’s New Online Services Portal) IP Australia officially announced the launch of its new eServices portal on 30 April 2012.


An email from IP Australia announcing the launch explains:

eServices is a secure electronic business portal that allows you to register, login and conduct selected transactions when and where it is convenient for you.

In the first release of eServices customers can renew all IP rights and submit trademark registrations electronically, and pay for them online using VISA or MasterCard. You can also access new features such as the option to save your requests, access your eServices transaction history and update your details.

In fact, IP Australia has released two digital transaction portals.  eServices is intended for low-volume customers, i.e. individuals and companies who conduct occasional business in relation to Australian patents, trade marks, designs and/or plant breeder’s rights.  A high-volume service, called Business 2 Business (B2B), will be used by organisations such as patent attorney firms and large corporation, which have a regular need to conduct bulk transactions with IP Australia.

HOW DOES eSERVICES WORK?

Users must first register in order to access eServices.  The registration process is reasonably straightforward, and involves reading and agreeing to the eServices Terms of Use, selecting a username and password (which must be at least nine characters in length, and include characters selected from three out of the sets of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters or punctuation), providing contact details, and three security questions/answers.

While the password restrictions and other security precautions are a little onerous, this is a good thing, considering that IP Australia will be holding personal details of users, and over time will make transaction histories available via the eServices portal.

Once the registration form is complete, an email is sent which contains an activation link.  Click on this link, and you are ready to go!  Once you sign in, you have access to the ‘My eServices’ interface, shown below.
My eServices
As indicated in IP Australia’s announcement, the functions of the initial release of eServices are limited to payment of renewal fees for all IP rights (patents, trade marks, designs and plant breeder’s rights), and trade mark registration payments.  Other existing online services, such as filing of patent and trade mark applications, remain available via their separate interfaces, until such time as they are integrated into eServices.

WHAT ABOUT B2B?

The initial release of the B2B portal caters only for renewals of IP rights.  There is no online sign-up for B2B, and it is our understanding that IP Australia has been working directly with larger customers (such as Australian attorney firms) to implement the B2B interface.

Many customers who will benefit from the B2B portal will therefore already be aware of it.  We assume that others can find out more by contacting IP Australia.

FUTURE PLANS

IP Australia has announced that future releases of the B2B and eServices portals will provide electronic transactions for new applications, examination requests, amendments and responses to exam reports for all IP right types.

It will also be possible for customers to choose how they would prefer to receive correspondence from IP Australia.  At long last, IP Australia is promising the option of electronic correspondence, for which the environment, and those with the thankless task of scanning paper correspondence into electronic record-keeping systems, will be most grateful!

FEEDBACK

For early adopters of eServices, IP Australia has set up a short survey to collect feedback on customers’ experiences with the system.

The survey is short (only three pages, taking less than five minutes to complete), and totally anonymous.  Please help IP Australia by completing the survey if you use eServices.

Feedback can also be provided using IP Australia’s general online feedback form.

FURTHER INFORMATION

The following IP Australia pages provide more information:
  1. eServices
  2. Getting Started with eServices
  3. eServices FAQ
A video of eServices – Renewals Demonstration is available on IP Australia’s YouTube channel.

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