Designing GUIs: current treatment of virtual or non-physical designs in Australia

Berger, Tyrone 2019, Designing GUIs: current treatment of virtual or non-physical designs in Australia, Queen Mary journal of intellectual property, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 92-104, doi: 10.4337/qmjip.2019.01.05.

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Title Designing GUIs: current treatment of virtual or non-physical designs in Australia
Author(s) Berger, Tyrone
Journal name Queen Mary journal of intellectual property
Volume number 9
Issue number 1
Start page 92
End page 104
Total pages 13
Publisher Edward Elgar Publishing
Place of publication Cheltenham, Eng.
Publication date 2019-02
ISSN 2045-9807
Keyword(s) design law
non-physical designs
graphical user interfaces (GUIs)
Designs Act 2003 (Cth)
Summary Virtual or non-physical designs (referred to as ‘graphical user interfaces’ (GUIs) and screen icons) are important design elements in many modern products. The widespread adoption of touch screen technologies, for example, means that software applications running on computer hardware are now used to provide user interface functionality, in some cases even providing an identity for the product. The fact that these visual features are only present when the function is active should not detract from the importance of those features to both the visual appeal and functionality of the device from a user's perspective. In recent years, GUIs and screen icons have been increasingly lodged as registered design applications. However, registrability (in the sense of compliance with substantive design law) is not considered during IP Australia's registration process, and, as such, GUIs and screen icons are appearing on the designs register without undergoing substantive examination. In many cases their status in Australia's designs system is currently uncertain. This article considers the background to this subject in Australia, and suggests how the substantive design law requirements and practice could be recast in light of the increase in non-physical designs being registered. Lastly, some concluding remarks are offered that may go some way towards initiating a broader conversation about the role of design protection in the new ‘experience age’.
Language eng
DOI 10.4337/qmjip.2019.01.05
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 1801 Law
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Business and Law
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