Last updated: 
10 September 2021

Review commenced: 01/05/2012
Duration of review: 2012-2015

The current designs system has been in operation since the commencement of the Designs Act 2003 on 17 June 2004. The designs system protects the visual features of a product - including the shape, configuration, pattern and ornamentation which, when applied to the product, give it a unique appearance.

In recent years a variety of concerns have been raised about the effectiveness of the designs system and whether it is meeting its original policy objectives. The designs system had not been comprehensively reviewed since its commencement in 2004 to assess whether it is effective and appropriate for Australia now and in the future.

In May 2012, ACIP was asked to investigate the effectiveness of the designs system in stimulating innovation by Australian users and the impact the designs system has on economic growth.

As part of its investigations, ACIP released an Issues paper in September 2013 to seek views from stakeholders, including users of the designs system. A number of written submissions were received. Public roundtable discussions were held in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in October and Perth in December 2013. ACIP released an Options Paper for public consultation on 3rd December 2014 and a final report in 2015.

Some of ACIP’s recommendations that were accepted by the Government have been implemented by the Designs Amendment (Advisory Council on Intellectual Property Response) Act 2021.

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