Novelty examination aims to reduce abusive design registrations
The Design Office has taken an important step towards minimizing abuse of the design registration system with the introduction of a basic novelty examination. The absence of any substantive examination of design applications up until now has led to the registration of many non-novel designs, and created a system that is open to abuse.
To comply with its obligations under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, the Indonesian government passed the Design Law in 2000. However, the law did not provide procedures for the substantive examination of applications in the absence of an opposition being filed. As well as leading to abuse of the system, this meant that in order to protect their own designs, registrants had to monitor constantly the design gazettes and file oppositions against any conflicting designs.
The new procedure is as follows:
- Any obviously non-novel design will be checked against the existing register.
- If a prior conflicting design is identified, the Design Office will issue an examination report to the applicant.
- The applicant has 30 days to respond - if he/she does not file a response within that time, the application will be rejected.
- If no prior conflicting design is identified, the application will proceed to publication and, if no opposition is filed, to registration.
Anyone marketing or distributing products in Indonesia should welcome the new novelty examination. Although it is only a first step towards minimizing systematic abuse, it should ensure that obviously non-novel designs are weeded out before publication. However, design owners will still need to monitor the gazettes carefully to protect their own registered designs.
Jin Ling, Rouse & Co International, Shanghai
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