IP Gateway Elevates the Intricacies and Nuances of Australian Designs Law with well Received Presentation to American Bar Association

Daniel Rosenthal, Head of Designs at IP GATEWAY, recently presented a seminar on Australian designs law to the Designs Committee of the American Bar Association (ABA).

The seminar was extremely well received by experienced designs practitioners in the USA.

The seminar included:

  • an overview of Australian registered design law and practice from an international perspective, with particular reference to unique aspects of Australian registered design law;
  • treatment of registered designs relating to ‘virtual designs’ for computer icons and graphical user interfaces, including strategies tailored to deal with Australian law’s restrictive treatment of such designs; and
  • a discussion of the comparatively broad scope of protection afforded by Australian registered design law, with reference to a specific judgement of the Federal Court.

The presentation was described by one of the attending committee members as “the kind of discussion that gives us a feel for design law practice in Australia and global trends” and as including “a very good selection of topics”.

One issue raised in the Q&A section by the ABA related to spare parts.  The spare parts market, for example for car parts, is a big business in Australia.  Australian law allows design registrations for component parts of complex products, but provides an exclusion to infringement where the use of the component part is “for the purpose of the repair of the complex product so as to restore its overall appearance”.  Therefore a certain component might be excluded from infringement if used (or intended to be used) for such repair, but infringe a registered design if used for a different purpose.  The exact bounds of the exclusion to infringement, for example how it applies to distributors who do not control the end use, are unclear.  This is currently a hot topic as we await the first Federal Court decision, involving GM Holden Ltd and S.S.S. Auto Parts. The case is expected to deal in detail with this very issue and to shed much light on this aspect of Australian design law.  Watch this space, we will keep you posted!

If you would like a copy of the ABA slides please let us know and we will forward it to you.

Australian designs law has shaken off its colonial roots and is quite a unique system. As one of the ABA Designs Committee members commented “Australian legislation is noted for its thorough preparation and independent approaches.”

Over the last eight years IP Gateway has dedicated itself to mastering the intricacies of Australian designs law.  Today this manifests itself in our detailed and methodical consideration of all designs cases prior to filing.

For further information about Australian registered designs law please contact IP Gateway Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys by telephone on +61 7 38083566 or email us at mail@ipgateway.com.au

 

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