In its 2015 'Review of the Designs System' in Australia, the former Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP) recommended the automatic publication of designs at six months after the filing date, with the possibility to request publication earlier if desired. An amendment to the innocent infringer defence, in subsection 75(2) of the Designs Act 2003, would accommodate this change.
Currently in Australia, design registrations are usually published within two to three weeks. Other jurisdictions allow design applicants to defer publication of their design. This enables applicants to obtain a priority date, but without having their design made available to the public.
Deferral of publication allows the designer to keep new designs confidential until they are ready to launch in the market. However, the downside of deferred publication is reduced certainty for other stakeholders in the market. The Australian Government noted the recommendation in its response to ACIP in May 2016, and committed IP Australia to carrying out further consultation.
High priority, due to public interest in improving the Australian designs system, as highlighted in ACIP's report.
Anticipated for inclusion in a Designs Bill in 2020. Public consultation is expected to commence later in 2019.