A design is the overall appearance of a product, and includes shape, configuration, pattern and/or ornamentation.
You can protect your design, provided it is both new and distinctive, by registering it with IP Australia.
Registration is intended to protect designs which have an industrial or commercial use, and unlike copyright, which is automatically granted in Australia, you need to apply to register your design to prevent others from using it.
- the person who conceived the design (that is, the author of the design)
- the employer of the author, if the author made the design in the course of their employment
- the person who contracted the author to make the design
- the person the author has assigned the design to in writing
- where 2 or more people own interests in the design, they must apply jointly
- the owner may be an individual, a company, an association or a partnership, but must not apply using a trading name.
What you need
- your personal details
- agent details (if applicable)
- design details including your reference number or identifier
- statement of newness and distinctiveness (optional)
- illustrations (representations) from enough viewpoints to fully display your design
- if a single design is to be applied to more than one product, or more than one design is to be applied to more than one product, the name of each product
- application fee.
How to apply
- Check the eligibility requirements.
- Ensure your design is new and distinctive by conducting searches yourself on the Australian Designs Data Searching (ADDS) website or the Designs Searchable Journal, or employing a professional search firm.
- Gather your design representations and select the 'Apply online' button.
- If you don't want your home address published online, provide a post office box or other valid address within Australia.
- 'New' means your design must not be identical to any design previously disclosed anywhere in the world (including on the internet).
- 'Distinctive' means your design must not be substantially similar in overall impression to any design previously published anywhere in the world (including on the internet).
- If you've already made your design public, for example by exhibiting it, or selling copies of it, or posting it on a website, you might not be able to protect it, as it may no longer be considered new and distinctive.
- If your application is for more than one design and you don't request registration for all the designs, you may not be able to subsequently request registration of the remaining designs.
- Only by registering do you have enforceable design rights.
- You have 6 months from the priority date of the application to register or publish some or all of the designs in your application.
- Your design is not registered until you've received your certificate of registration.
- Keep copies of all documents including your representations (illustrations).
- The maximum term of a registered design is 10 years and you need to renew your registration within 5 years of filing, or it will lapse.