Spruson & Ferguson companies are incorporated entities owned by IPH Limited, a public company that is the holding company for a number of intellectual property professional services businesses operating under different brands and across the Asia-Pacific region (each company or group of companies 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 within the IPH Limited group are also considered to be members of an ‘ownership group’ (members of the ownership group are identified below).*
The success of Spruson & Ferguson’s business and the success of our clients require us 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, Spruson & Ferguson and each IPH Group Business adhere to the following key principles to ensure independence in provision to clients of attorney 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
Spruson & Ferguson and each of its attorneys 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 attorney services
Spruson & Ferguson operates independently from each other IPH Group Business in its provision to clients of attorney professional services. Spruson & Ferguson and each other Group Business maintain separate case management systems and no non-public information relating to professional attorney services is shared with another Group Business.
(Note: Spruson & Ferguson may in some cases engage or be engaged by other IPH Group Businesses as a foreign agent or lawyer and information shared for that purpose.)
Active compliance with all legal and ethical requirements
Spruson & Ferguson 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
Spruson & Ferguson and each responsible attorney actively consider and manage actual and potential conflicts of interest. The IPH group structures and arrangements, including as to the separation and independent provision to clients of attorney professional services by each Group Business, ensures 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
Spruson & Ferguson is open and transparent about its relationship with IPH Limited and other Group Businesses, including by expressly notifying its membership of the group in competitive proposals and tenders. Unless advised to the recipient, Spruson & Ferguson and other Group Businesses prepare all 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
To provide our services Spruson & Ferguson relies upon certain back-office, non-professional services provided by entities within the IPH group that do not provide attorney services, including IT, insurance, finance and accounting services, and may share certain information with IPH Limited to satisfy corporate governance, management and reporting responsibilities. For the purposes of conducting our business we may also disclose Information to our associated companies that form part of the Spruson & Ferguson business. Non-public client information is not shared with any other Group Business (unless engaged as a foreign agent or lawyer), and all non-public information remains subject to confidentiality and is not further used or disclosed.
The proper management of these matters is of critical importance to Spruson & Ferguson and the IPH Limited 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.
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Members of the ownership group are Spruson & Ferguson Pty Ltd, Spruson & Ferguson Lawyers Pty Ltd, Cullens Pty Ltd, Fisher Adams Kelly Pty Ltd (all operating under the Spruson & Ferguson brand in Australia)^, AJ Park IP Ltd (and affiliated company, AJ Park Law Ltd), Practice Insight Pty Ltd and Pizzeys Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys Pty Ltd. The Spruson & Ferguson and Pizzeys businesses also comprise patent and trade marks attorney entities outside Australia and New Zealand. Information on all legal entities forming part of the IPH Limited group is available at www.iphltd.com.au/about-iph.
^Fisher Adams Kelly Pty Ltd and Cullens Pty Ltd operate as part of the Spruson & Ferguson business and will be fully integrated into Spruson & Ferguson Pty Ltd from July 2018.