IP Australia proposes modernisation of the designs system

IP Australia is proposing to modernize the Australian designs system to allow design protection for:

  1. Products with no physical form, such as icons, interfaces, virtual reality and augmented reality;
  2. Partial designs of products made in one piece. As an example, a design for a cup handle would now be capable of being separately registered, even though the handle and cup are made in one piece; and
  3. Incremental designs to address the incremental nature of developing designs and products.

IP Australia has identified two mechanisms which might be incorporated into the design system to provide for incremental designs. The first is the filing of a low-cost application for a preliminary design, allowing the applicant to develop the design for up to a further 6 months before filing a main application for a design with incremental changes from the preliminary design.

The second would allow the owner of a design registration to link it to a subsequent design which has incremental changes to the main design. This would ensure that publishing or using the main design doesn’t make the subsequent design unprotectable.

Users of the Australian designs system are encouraged to provide IP Australia with their comments on these proposals by 8 August 2023. Further details on the proposals, and IP Australia contact details in relation to the proposals are provided at the link below:

Enhancing Australian design protection – IP Australia – Citizen Space

Should you have any questions or be looking for further information on these potential changes, please contact Davin Merritt, the head of our designs team.

BEng(Hons) FIPTA

Davin leads both the designs and sustainability & clean technologies teams. He joined Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick in 1992 and gained several years’ experience in patent and design searching in our information systems department.