Designs FAQs


A design is the overall appearance of a product.  This includes the shape, configuration, pattern and ornamentation which, when applied to a product, give it a unique visual appearance.

Some designs are not registrable by law and include designs for medals, layouts for integrated circuits, Australian currency and scandalous designs which include a design which is shocking or offensive to the public.  Design registration only relates to the visual features of a product, and does not pertain to the function of a product or how it works.

A design can be registered in Australia, provided it is both new and distinctive.  In order to be new it must not be identical to any design previously disclosed anywhere in the world, nor any design previously used in Australia.  To be distinctive a design must not be substantially similar in overall impression to any design previously published anywhere in the world, nor any design previously used in Australia.

Probably not – in order to apply for registration, you must be the legal owner of the design.  Also, under the new Designs Act, designs published in a document within or outside Australia form part of the prior art base.

The industrial design registration provides you with the exclusive right to produce and sell your design without fear of copycats stealing your design and selling it on the cheap, for example.  A registered design would certainly prevent such copycats from attempting to file for registration of your design, or even commence the infringement in the first place.  With a certified design registration you will be able to take steps to enforce your rights and stop any infringement.  Registering and certifying your design not only provides you with this peace of mind, but also adds significant value to your business – allowing you the option to not only capitalise commercially, but also license or even sell the design for substantial monetary gain.

It is like we always say, the early bird catches the worm! You must be speaking to our Attorneys as soon as your design is finalised (you may not even be at prototype stage as yet).  Design applications are required to be new, therefore it is recommended that your application is filed as close to the creation date as possible.  It is very important that you do not sell, publicise or advertise your design in any form prior to filing your industrial design application.

Examination will include a search of prior art, and checks against proscribed products/designs. Following this, a certificate must be issued unless the examiner has determined grounds for revocation based upon the above.

A maximum term of 10 years, with a renewal fee payable at the 5th anniversary from filing.

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