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Indonesia – The Design Copyright Case

The legal framework for the protection of industrial designs in Indonesia is based on Law No. 31/2000 (Law on Industrial Designs) that became effective on 14 June 2001. Based on the law, any third party may file for the cancellation of registration of an industrial design to the Commercial Court on the grounds that the registered design is not new.

As stipulated in Article 2 of the Law, an industrial design shall be deemed new if it is not the same as any previous disclosures on or before the filing date. The term “previous disclosure” is defined as a disclosure, which before the filing date, or the priority date has been announced or used in Indonesia or outside Indonesia. As the definition seems fairly broad, one of the issues arising from it is whether a copyright registration can be considered as a “previous disclosure”. This issue was recently considered in the Indonesian Commercial Court and Supreme Court.

In the lawsuit of Precision Tooling SpA vs Andreas Stihl Ag & Co, 2005, the plaintiff, Precision Tool SpA, filed for the cancellation of an industrial design registration based on the corresponding copyright registration of a photo and a brochure in the form of technical drawings of a Japanese design. Pursuant to the Law on Industrial Designs, the Judge was of the opinion that in order to destroy novelty, the “previous disclosure” should be one, which is disclosed in an exhibition or through printed and electronic media. Hence, the Judge ruled in favor of the defendant, the registered proprietor, and found that the copyright registration of the photo and the brochure could not be regarded as a “previous disclosure”. Both the Commercial Court and Supreme Court upheld the defendant’s registration, thus dismissing the plaintiff’s suit.