Registered design rights protecting the distinctive appearance of a product are often an important supplement to patent rights which protect aspects of product functionality.
Our expert litigators regularly work with our patent attorneys experienced in filing and prosecuting design applications to advise clients in relation to ownership, infringement and validity issues.
Registered design rights can be especially important for mass-produced three-dimensional products sold in Australia due to the “copyright-design overlap” provisions, which can render copyright unenforceable with respect to those products once a product design has been “applied industrially”. Our expert litigators regularly advise both design owners and parties seeking freedom to operate on these issues to develop effective strategies for their products.
Design validity and infringement are both inherently complex questions under Australian law. This is because both distinctiveness (for validity purposes) and substantial similarity in overall impression (for infringement purposes) are assessed according the “standard of the informed user” by reference to the prior art base, with particular regard to the amount, quality and importance of the similarities (more so than the differences). Our expert litigators are attuned to these difficult and factually-dependent issues and work with clients to navigate them effectively and efficiently.
- Acting for owners of registered designs in disputes with infringers.
- Advising and conducting design enforcement programs for major international manufacturers of consumer products.
- Acting for clients in defending allegations of registered design infringement and challenging validity.