I’m Gavin Lovie, I’m from IP Australia. We’re a Commonwealth government agency that looks after patents for inventions, industrial designs to protect the visual features applied to products, trade marks for all your branding aspects, and also plant breeder’s rights for new varieties of plants and plant cultivars.
Designs are really important. Designs are all around us. Design is applied to every product that’s out there in the market. Every product has to have a visual feature, from your phone – it has particular visual features, to your toothbrush – either the handgrip or the particular configuration of the bristles on the toothbrush – its very important, its all around us. From those smaller household items, right up to the high tech things like transport and other craft that design has been applied to.
Registering designs is very important for two aspects. One aspect is that once your design is registered and examined you’re able to then seek to enforce the rights of your design. If you have a registered design it might also be very important for your business if it helps you license out that design, so that others can make your products or on your behalf to sell to others. So they’re increasing their profit margins in relation to using your designs. So it’s very important there from a perspective of innovation.
Common problems that people encounter with their design applications would be that their drawings, their representations aren’t that clear. That once, when they apply, they don’t fully understand what they are applying their design to. Perhaps they are seeking protection on a far broader basis than really what they are after. And it’s really about understanding; what’s my design? What will I be using it for? And then also understanding, what am I going to do if someone infringes on my design? And how are the courts interpreting my design? Taking those factors into account, it really might help me understand what I’m doing before I apply, or if indeed should I apply.
I think my presentation gave a balanced perspective against the other presenters who were talking about the perspective of designers and creators… and international systems, and processes for designers. My presentation gave an overview of, how does the intellectual property system per se encourage innovation. It gave some insights into the law, so that people there at the presentation today can understand the law a bit more. But also some things about what’s on the horizon, we do have a review of the designs law in place at the moment, and that’s coming up very shortly.