Design FAQs

Design FAQs

Common Questions for Designs

What is a design?

A design refers to the features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation which give a product a unique appearance. Design registration is intended to protect designs which have an industrial or commercial use. For a design registration to be valid, the design must be “new” and “distinctive” against any prior published information within or outside Australia.

What are the advantages of obtaining design registration?

Once examined and certified, a registered design gives the owner exclusive rights to commercially use, licence or sell it. The rights include the prevention of copy products by people or companies. Further, it helps convey a positive image of a business by publicly showcasing the business’ creativity and consequently increasing the market value of the products.

When should I file a design application?

Timing is very important. Taking into account the novelty and the distinctiveness requirements, it is crucial to file an application before publicly disclosing it, eg. posting the design on your website or blog, as that will destroy its novelty/ distinctiveness. In Australia, a grace period of 6 months is available in very limited circumstances such as use of the design at an officially recognised international exhibition or unwanted disclosure by third parties

How long does it take for a design to be registered?

Once a design application is filed, it will be checked for formalities and if approved, will generally be registered or published within 6 to 10 weeks. The applicant has to request either publication or registration within 6 months from the filing date. A registered design is not enforceable unless it is examined and certified.

What is the difference between Registration and Publication?

Registered designs can be made enforceable by getting a Certificate of Examination. On the contrary, published designs do not give any rights. However, it is often used for strategic purposes to prevent others from obtaining certification for the same design, particularly where the design is no longer considered new.

How long with the design be registered for?

The term of a design registration in Australia is a maximum of 10 years, with a renewal fee payable on the 5th anniversary from filing.

Will my Australian registered design be enforceable overseas?

No. An Australian registered design provides protection only within Australia.  As there is no such thing as a ‘world registered design’, you have to file a separate application in each country where protection is sought. Under the Paris Convention, if you file an international application within 6 months from the filing date of your Australian design application, you can claim priority on the international application. Australia is currently not a member of the Hague Agreement so you cannot file one single international application through WIPO’s Hague System. Visit our International Design Registration page for more information.

What’s the difference between Designs and Patents?

Design protection is given only in respect of the appearance of an article, whereas the article itself, its functionality or the manner in which it operates may be protected by a patent. If a product is new and has an inventive (or innovative) step, and its design is also new and distinctive, both patent and design protection is available. For example, design protection is available for the appearance of a car whereas its functionality can be protected by a patent.

What’s the difference between Designs and Copyright?

A design registration provides protection for the visual features of the shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation, whereas copyright protects others from copying your original expression of ideas and exploiting it. Generally, artistic works that are industrially applied or commercially exploited as 3D designs are denied copyright protection. A design may have been applied industrially if it has been applied to more than 50 articles, or to one or more non-handmade articles that have been manufactured in lengths or pieces.

For more information, call us today on (02) 9233 1411 or send us an online enquiry.

Disclaimer: This page has been prepared to provide general information and does not constitute legal advice. The information provided is not intended to create a lawyer/attorney- client relationship. Any information viewed or obtained on this site should not be relied upon as a substitute for detailed legal advice.