Intellectual property: Overview

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (the Court) has jurisdiction to hear and determine civil disputes concerning copyright, designs, trade marks and plant breeder’s rights, as set out below. This jurisdiction is concurrent with the jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Australia. The Court also has jurisdiction to hear and determine consumer law matters, and other disputes under the Competition and Consumer Law Act 2010, as set out below.

Copyright

The Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine civil copyright matters under the Copyright Act 1968. In particular, the Court can deal with matters arising under Parts V (except section 115A), VAA and IX and section 248J of the Copyright Act 1968.

Trade marks

The Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine the following matters under the Trade Marks Act 1995:

  • appeals from decisions of the Registrar of Trade Marks under sections 35, 56, 67, 83(2), 83A(8), 84D and 104
  • infringement actions under sections 120 and 121 (see also sections 122 to 128) and 130
  • applications for relief from unjustified threats under section 129
  • decision on whether a person has used a trade mark under section 7
  • determining whether a trade mark has become generic under sections 24, 87 and 89
  • amendment or cancellation of registration under sections 85 and 86
  • revocation of registration by amendment or cancellation or entering a condition or limitation under sections 88 and 89
  • application for an order to remove a trade mark registration for non-use under subsection 92(3) and referral to the Court by the Registrar of Trade Marks under section 94
  • application for rectification of the Register of Trade Marks by order of the Court under section 181
  • variation of rules governing use of certification trade mark under section 182.

Designs

The Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine the following matters under the Designs Act 2003:

  • appeals from decisions of the Registrar of Designs under subsections 28(5), 67(4), 68(6), 50(6), 52(7) and 54(4)
  • ability to make a determination of an ‘entitled person’ during proceedings before the Court under section 53
  • infringement actions under sections 71 to 76
  • applications for relief from unjustified threats under sections 77 to 81
  • application for compulsory licences under sections 90 to 92
  • revocation of registration under section 93
  • for Crown use provisions, provide a determination of the term of use of a design under section 98
  • application for the cessation of Crown use of a design under section 102
  • rectification of the Register of Designs under section 120.

Plant breeder’s rights

The Court has jurisdiction in respect of alleged infringements under the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act 1994.

Consumer law

The Court has jurisdiction with respect to claims under the following provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and can combine these proceedings with proceedings in another area of its jurisdiction.

  • section 46 (Misuse of Market Power)
  • Part IVB (Industry Codes)
  • Part IVD (Consumer Data Right)
  • Part XI (Application of the Australian Consumer Law as a law of the Commonwealth), and
  • Schedule 2 (Australian Consumer Law).

Associated jurisdiction

The Court has jurisdiction conferred in respect of matters not otherwise within its jurisdiction that are associated with matters in which the jurisdiction of the Court is invoked (section 134).

Related information