Design Infringement Disputes

Why protect against design infringement?

Design registration provides owners of that design with a monopoly to exploit the product’s unique visual appearance for 10 years and to the exclusion of all others. This right is enforceable against others once registration has been certified.

Given the value and investment in a design, it is important to protect the design from infringement, breaches and violation through effective dispute resolution techniques or, if needed, patent litigation.

Disputing the unauthorised use of your design and preventing further infringement offers the following benefits:

  • protects your market share
  • protects design-dependent revenue
  • protects your market reputation from similar but inferior products
  • increases the commercial value of your design and business.
  • Defending unfounded claims of design infringement, breach or violation offers these same benefits. An appropriate defence strategy to protect your design is equally as important as enforcing your rights against another.

What are the different types of design disputes?

A design infringement dispute can arise in two ways:

  • A competitor, without your authority, uses a design on a product that is identical or substantially similar in overall impression to your registered design.
  • A competitor considers that you are using a design on a product that is identical or substantially similar in overall impression to their registered design.
  • Conduct constituting design infringement includes making, hiring, selling or otherwise disposing of the design, or otherwise offering to do so.

Getting specialist advice on how best to deal with design disputes is vital.

How should I resolve a design infringement dispute?

There are two options for resolving an infringement of your design, or a claim of infringement against you by other party.

Design infringement dispute resolution

While an aggressive design litigation strategy might be the best approach in some circumstances, often the preferable commercial outcome (particularly when defending a design infringement claim) is to use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, such as negotiation, mediation or conciliation, to facilitate communication between the parties to reach a settlement of the dispute. ADR can be court-ordered or privately organised.

In all design infringement disputes, we consider whether ADR is a viable option, as dispute resolution will minimise your costs and legal liability by avoiding a potential lawsuit. Design disputes and litigation can sometimes be an unwanted distraction from your day-to-day business.

Design infringement litigation

While we will always facilitate settlement where appropriate, sometimes the adoption of an aggressive patent litigation strategy is unavoidable or a necessary commercial strategy. We keep you informed, through regular updates at every stage, as to the progress and costs of litigation. At the start of any litigation we provide you with a clear roadmap showing how a matter might unfold, with timeframes and costs associated with each of those stages.

Our design lawyers have litigated in various jurisdictions including the Federal Court. Our team has a wealth of intellectual property experience used to devise a strategy that is tailored to your needs and the needs of your business.

How can Actuate IP assist?

Actuate IP’s design lawyers have litigated across numerous jurisdictions, including the Federal Court, and will work with you to manage the dispute and litigation process, keeping you informed of progress and costings at all times.

We can advise as to the best strategy for resolving a design infringement in the most effective and cost-efficient manner for you.

Contact Actuate IP to learn more.