Last updated: 
13 February 2020

From 31 October to 20 December 2019 we sought your views on policy issues that would implement accepted recommendations from the former Advisory Council on Intellectual Property’s (ACIP) Review of the Designs System. This consultation has now closed. IP Australia is also undertaking a more holistic review of the designs ecosystem, as part of the Designs Review Project.

ACIP’s 2015 Report outlined that the Designs Act 2003 currently provides limited flexibility, clarity and limited scope of protection for designs. This may be creating unnecessary barriers for designers when they are innovating and commercialising their designs.

Thank you to all who contributed and provided submission to our consultation. IP Australia is now considering submissions and feedback provided to the questions and proposed options aimed at addressing these issues. You can watch a quick video overview of the issues covered in this consultation, or read about them below under these three key topics:

  1. Examining the scope of design protection
  2. Early flexibility for designers
  3. Simplifying and clarifying the designs system

1. Examining the scope of design protection

The topic covers

  • The protection of partial designs and considers whether IP protection for only part of a product should be allowed.
  • The protection of virtual, non-physical and active state designs and considers whether IP protection of new types of designs (including screen displays, screen icons and graphical user interfaces (GUIs)) should be allowed.
  • The approach taken in section 19 of the Designs Act, when assessing whether a design is distinctive enough when compared to another design.

Read more about the options

2. Early flexibility for designers

The topic covers

  • Introducing a safety net (grace period) to avoid public disclosures made by a designer from prejudicing a later filed application for design protection in Australia.
  • Allowing designers to delay publication of applications for design protection, so that their design can be kept secret for longer (for example, until it is ready to be launched in the market).
  • Removing the rarely used option for designers to only publish a design application (and not register it).

Read more about the options

3. Simplifying and clarifying the designs system

The topic covers

  • Several technical proposals seeking to simplify the designs system for users and clarify parts of the system that may be confusing, including possible changes to the terminology used in the Designs Act.

Read more about the options

Submissions received

We received the following 15 non-confidential submissions:

 

What happens next?

We are currently considering submissions and will publish a response in due course.

If you have any questions about this consultation, you can email consultation@ipaustralia.gov.au, or contact Brett Massey on +61 (02) 6285 0721.

You can subscribe to our What’s New mailing list to stay up to date as our work progresses.

More information

IP glossary

IP for designers

Designs initiatives

Providing input to the IP Australia policy register

WIPO guidelines to using evidence from research to support policymaking