Legal development

IP bite Designs law changes commence

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    What you need to know

    • On 10 March 2022, significant changes to the Designs Act came into effect. Those changes include the introduction of a 12 month grace period and a prior use infringement exemption.
    • Changes to the Designs Regulations also came into effect on 10 March 2022. Those changes relate to the formal requirements for filing a new design application and apply to all applications filed on or after 10 March 2022.

    What you need to do

    • If you are filing a new design application, ensure that you comply with the new filing requirements and are aware of the Designs Act changes that affect your business.

    Designs Act changes

    On 10 March 2022, key changes to the Designs Act came into force in Australia. These include:

    • an increase of the grace period (the period of time during which prior publications of a design can be disregarded when deciding whether a design is new and distinctive) from 6 to 12 months; and
    • introduction of a prior use infringement exemption where a party has either independently created an identical or substantially similar design or copied the design from a public disclosure from the designer made before the priority date.

    For more detail about these and the other new changes see our earlier IP@Ashurst article which discusses these changes in detail.

    Designs Regulation changes

    In addition to the Designs Act changes, two new instruments were signed by the Registrar of Designs which amend the Designs Regulations. These documents update the requirements for the form and means of filing documents as well as the requirements for the representations of the design that must be included in new design applications. There are no significant changes made by these new regulations, rather the new instruments codify what is currently accepted in practice by the Designs Office and set the requirements out more clearly making it easier for applicant's to comply when filing new applications. The new requirements can be accessed here.

    Authors: Lisa Ritson, Partner and Annika Barrett, Senior Expertise Lawyer. 

    The information provided is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all developments in the law and practice, or to cover all aspects of those referred to.
    Readers should take legal advice before applying it to specific issues or transactions.


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