In part 1 of this series (here), we considered the welcome introduction of a 12 month grace period that came into effect as of 10 March 2022. The grace period protects a design owner against inadvertent disclosure of a design before an application for protection of the design is filed – previously, this was fatal to having enforceable design rights. In part 2, we delve into the prior use infringement exemption that concurrently came into effect to mitigate the commercial risks that might arise as a result of the grace period.Read More
Protecting the visual appearance of a product, or its packaging, should be a key consideration in any comprehensive IP protection strategy. We have previously written about amendments to the Australian Designs Act 2003 (Cth) (here and here). All changes to the Designs Act have now come into force as of 10 March 2022. In this first of a series of articles, we delve deeper into amendments that introduce the long awaited grace period.Read More
On 31 October 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the ongoing dispute between Star Athletica LLC and Varsity Brands Inc, two major designers and manufacturers of cheerleading uniforms. In what could be considered a bizarre mash up of early 2000s films “Bring it On!” and “Legally Blonde”, the two companies are involved in a stoush as to whether or not the two-dimensional designs of coloured stripes and zig-zags that are applied to cheerleading uniforms can be protected under US copyright law. My U.S. colleagues John Cotter and Shamus Hyland previously discussed the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision in this matter here.
It will come as no surprise to readers that U.S. and Australian laws differ in many respects and this is particularly the case when it comes to copyright and designs laws.
In Australia, fashion designers may have recourse to the Designs Act 2003 (Cth) and/or the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) depending on whether or not they are looking to protect two-dimensional (prints, images etc.) or three-dimensional (cut, shape, fit etc.) designs and how they intend to exploit the designs.