Proposed Australian Design Law Changes pending

In a long overdue response to the Review of the Designs System – Final Report prepared by the now defunct Advisory Council in Intellectual Property (ACIP) in 2015, IP Australia has announced the introduction of a 12 month grace period from the priority date of a design application that follows a public disclosure of a design.

This change will bring Australian design law into alignment with many overseas countries, such as the United States and Europe, both of which provide a 12 month grace period.

An official grace period will also assist designers by providing a window of time in which they can undertake some market testing with potential customers without losing eligibility for protection.
 

IP Australia also plans to remove the option of requesting publication at the time of filing and requests for design registration will be automatically made six months from filing the application. However, early registration can still be requested. To balance the extended period of uncertainty for third parties, protection for third parties will be introduced whereby a design cannot be infringed between filing and registration (i.e. publication). This ensures that third parties cannot be found to infringe a design that they would be unable to find on the Design Register and aligns Australian designs law with other existing intellectual property law, such as Australian patent law.

The grace period, and other legislative amendments, are expected to be put before the Australian Parliament in a Designs Bill later this year and we will keep you up to date as developments come to light.

In the meantime, keep your designs confidential until a design application has been filed. If you need any assistance, please contact us on 07 3369 2226 or at [email protected].



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