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Review of Designs Act 2003 finds no change needed to "Spare Parts" Provision.

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Media Release The Hon Bob Baldwin, MP

23 June 2006

Review of Designs Act 2003 Finds No Change Needed to "Spare Parts" Provision 06/238

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Bob Baldwin, today released the report Review of the “Spare Parts” Provision in the Designs Act 2003.

In introducing the new designs rights system, the Designs Act 2003, the Government decided that, although spare parts should be able to be protected as registered designs, there should be a 'right of repair' provision allowing spare parts to be used for certain repairs without infringing the registered design right.

This 'right of repair' provision was introduced to ensure effective competition in the spare parts market, giving consumers greater choice and lower prices when repairing items such as motor vehicles and washing machines. The provision also aims at encouraging innovation in the spare parts industry by providing design protection for spare parts. The formal review, completed in December 2005 by IP Australia in consultation with industry and other Government agencies, is a result of the Government’s commitment to ensure the spare parts provision was meeting its objectives.

The review recommends that no changes be made at this time as the designs spare parts provision has yet to have a significant effect on industry and consumers. The review notes that this is due to the long lead times between registration of designs and the appearance on the market of complex products, meaning that the full impact of the legislation is unlikely to become evident for some years. As such, insufficient time has elapsed since the commencement of the spare parts provision to enable firm conclusions to be drawn as to whether the provision is effective in meeting the Government’s policy objectives.

“The Government is committed to operating a clear, accessible design registration system that strikes an appropriate balance between consumer benefits and compliance costs for business and industry,” Mr Baldwin said.

“We need to ensure the spare parts provision continues to encourage innovation by providing protection to component suppliers in their dealings with manufacturers of original complex equipment, while at the same time opening up the spare parts market to greater competition and thus securing benefits for consumers in the form of lower prices.”

The Government has asked IP Australia to continue to monitor developments overseas and in Australia relating to the operation and impact of the spare parts provision in consultation with

industry and stakeholders, and recommend action as appropriate.

A copy of the full report is available on IP Australia’s web site

IP Australia Contact: Peter Willimott (02) 6283 2282 or 0410 698 391

Media Contact: Anna Fitzgerald, 0417 490 821

CMR 06-289