Hosokawa Micron International Inc v Fortune: 1990

(Federal Court of Australia) A design which is dictated solely by function is not a ‘design’ within the meaning of section 4 of the Designs Act 1906. Lockhart J said that: ‘The essence of the registrability of a design is that it has an element of novelty having regard to the nature of the article and the state of the prior art. The cases mentioned earlier speak eloquently of this and Le May v Welch is a notable example.’ and ‘In my opinion Utilux and Interlego provide strong support for the view that features of a design are dictated solely by the function which the article has to perform, not when the article’s function for successful performance requires that it be made in that shape and in no other, but when the relevant features of the shape are brought about solely by or are attributable only to the function which the article in that shape is to perform even if the same function could be performed by an article of different shape.’


Lockhart, Northrop JJ


(1990) 26 FCR 393, (1990) 97 ALR 615, (1990) 19 IPR 531, [1991] AIPC 37 226



Cited by:

CitedLucasfilm Ltd and Others v Ainsworth and Another SC 27-Jul-2011
The claimant had produced the Star War films which made use of props, in particular a ‘Stormtrooper’ helmet designed by the defendant. The defendant had then himself distributed models of the designs he had created. The appellant obtained judgment . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Intellectual Property

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.442605