18.4. Prior publication or use exceptions: Disclosure to government

Date Published

Disclosures to the Commonwealth Government or to an Australian state or territory government are not part of the prior art base (s 17(2)). There is no time limit on applying for the design after disclosing it to the government.

This exception extends to disclosures to people authorised by the government to investigate the design. For example, disclosure to the Commonwealth in a funding application is not part of the prior art base.

For a discussion of the scope of this exclusion, see Stack v Brisbane City Council 32 IPR 69.

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Relevance to material on the Register

Although the Designs Office is an agency of the Commonwealth, this provision does not mean that material on the Register relating to an earlier design is unavailable for examination or assessment of later designs registered or applied for by the same person. This is because s 17 is only designed to allow, for example, a defence contractor to provide sample material to the Department of Defence while still keeping the benefit of a design application (Icon Plastics Pty Ltd [2007] ADO 2).

Amended Reasons

Amended Reason Date Amended