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Australian Design Registration

Written by Christina King on 18 July 2007

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On the whole the Australian design system operates on a similar basis to the EC/UK system. Howeverone crucial difference is the fact that disclosure of the design prior to registration can defeat the novelty requirement. The only exception to this is that it is possible to file an EU design up to six months prior to an application in Australia and by claiming the priority of the EU

application still gain a valid registration in Australia. Nevertheless it is still important to consider whether you may want to extend protection of your design to Australia prior to putting the design on the market in the UK/EU. This is because although under EU design rules it is permissible to test the market for a period of up to 12 months before applying for registration, if this is taken advantage of this may again defeat the novelty requirement in Australia.

No substantive examination of whether a design meets the requirements for registration is undertaken. It is only examined to check the formalities i.e. the procedural requirements have been fulfilled. Although in contrast to the EC/UK system there is provision for an applicant to request further examination on payment of an additional fee.

A design is defined as the overall appearance of a product, visual features such as the shape, configuration, pattern and ornamentation which, when applied to the product, give it a unique appearance.

Even though examination of compliance with the above requirements does not form part of the basic registration procedure, it is possible for third parties to request such an examination or to challenge the validity of a design in infringement proceedings on the basis of non-compliance with the necessary requirements. Therefore it is in the applicant’s interest to ensure that its designconforms to these as far as possible.

The duration of the right is ten years subject to payment of a renewal fee after the first five years.

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