12.4. Section 43 refusal to register: Currency

Date Published

Any design that could mislead someone into believing that the design is either paper money or an Australian prescribed security cannot be registered.

Section 19(1) of the Crimes (Currency) Act 1981 (Cth) prohibits:

a business or professional card, notice, placard, circular, hand-bill, poster or other material that so resembles current paper money or an Australian prescribed security as to be capable of misleading a person into believing it is that current paper money or that Australian prescribed security. [Emphasis added.]

The only exception to this prohibition is when the applicant proves that they have written consent for the design from the Treasurer of Australia or a person authorised in writing by the Treasurer of Australia (see the Crimes (Currency) Act, s 19(1)). Consent however has conditions. One of these is that reproductions or images (of past and present Australian banknotes) must be less than three-quarters or greater than one and a half times the length and width of the genuine banknote being reproduced. This poses an issue when applying for a registered design, as the registration is not limited to the size seen in the representation(s). See JIMMY DIOGUARDI [2013] ADO 5.

Note that this non-registrable category does not include designs for coins. However, a product that is similar to a coin may fall into the category of medals and therefore not be registrable.

Paper money

Paper money is defined as:

... money comprising a note written, printed or otherwise made on paper or any other material. [Crimes (Currency) Act, s 3]

It includes plastic notes like those used in Australia and New Zealand.

Note that the prohibition on securities is limited to Australian securities. But the prohibition against paper money (or plastic notes) applies to the money of any country.


An Australian prescribed security is defined as:

... any bond, debenture, stock, stock certificate, treasury bill or other like security, or any coupon, warrant or other document for the payment of money in respect of such a security, issued by the Commonwealth of Australia, by an authority of the Commonwealth of Australia or by, or with the authority of, the government of a country other than Australia. [Crimes (Currency) Act, s 3]

The prohibition under s 19(1) only applies if the representation shows a design that could potentially mislead someone into thinking that the design represents actual money or a security. This would not include a design that merely looks a bit like money (e.g. the design is for toy money for a game and does not look like real money at all).

Amended Reasons

Amended Reason Date Amended