Australian design registration to a mechanical product succeeds

Australian design registration to a mechanical product succeeds – 29 September 2016

Design registrations are the Australian equivalents of design patents. They provide protection against imitators defined in terms of the overall visual impression of a product.

In a recent decision [1] of the Federal Court, an Australian company successfully enforced its Australian design registration no. 340171 against a competitor importing and selling a similar product. The registration related to a ceiling fan hub.

Images from the decision are reproduced below. The Court held that the registered design (of the line drawing) and the infringing product (of the photograph) were substantially similar in overall impression.

The design registration process is relatively inexpensive and straightforward, although it is to be borne in mind that it is the look of the product that is protected; important functional details could still be copied so long as sufficient cosmetic changes are made.

If you have a product with functional details that you would rather not be copied, the patent system may well be a more appropriate option. Patent and design protection can be pursued in parallel.

Our engineering patent attorneys are ideally placed to assist with design registration.

[1] Hunter Pacific International Pty Ltd v Martec Pty Ltd [2016] FCA 796

Authored by

Ben Mott Patent Attorney & Mechanical Engineer Ben Mott

Mechanical Engineer & Patent Attorney