Section 18 of the Designs Act 2003 and overlap provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 to be made consistent with each other

At a glance

Policy ID: 44

Status: Identified for action

Priority: Medium

Design rights ACIP

Issue summary

In its 2015 Review of the Designs System in Australia, the former Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP) recommended that steps should be taken to make section 18 of the Designs Act 2003 consistent with the overlap provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The Government accepted the recommendation.

Currently, section 18 of the Designs Act and Part III Division 8 of the Copyright Act have overlapping provisions that implement a policy of limiting copyright protection for artistic works (such as drawings) which are designs for the shape of mass-produced products. The result is that exclusivity in mass-produced goods can only be obtained under the Designs Act.

However, there are some inconsistencies between the Designs Act and the Copyright Act. Addressing these inconsistencies will allow for greater understanding and consistency in applying the overlap provisions.


  • On hold 4 September 2017
  • Status reviewed August 2020


Issue to be considered in future. Other matters of higher priority will be considered first.

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