Spruson & Ferguson companies are incorporated entities owned by IPH Limited, a public company that is the holding company for an international network of intellectual property professional services and adjacent businesses operating under different brands and 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).*
The success of Spruson & Ferguson’s business, each Group Business and their clients requires 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 Group Business adheres 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 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 case related information is shared with another Group Business.
(Note: Spruson & Ferguson may in some cases engage or be engaged by other 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, ensure compliance with legal and ethical requirements, including obligations under applicable Codes of Conduct, and minimise 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 their membership of the IPH 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
In order to provide their services, Group Businesses rely upon certain back-office, non-professional services provided by entities within the IPH Group that do not provide attorney 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 be required to share certain information with IPH Limited.
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 as a foreign agent or lawyer).
Sharing of personal information
The proper management of these matters is of critical importance to 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 www.iphltd.com.au/about-iph