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.
Policy development 04-Sept-2017
Consultation 31-Oct-2019 to 20-Dec-2019
Policy Development 20-Dec-2019
High priority, due to public interest in improving the Australian designs system, as highlighted in ACIP's report.
P Australia conducted a public consultation from 31 October to 20 December 2019 on policy issues being considered for inclusion in a Designs Bill in 2020. Consultation is now closed and IP Australia is considering all submissions received.
IP Australia is also undertaking a more holistic review of the designs ecosystem, as part of the Designs Review Project.