How to register a design

‘The design registration process is inexpensive and straightforward. Careful consideration at the start leads to more effective rights.’

Applying for an Australian design registration involves filing ‘representations’ of the design and brief text with IP Australia.

At the time of filing, it is important to consider the format of the representations because the formatting affects the scope of coverage. Black and white line drawings are often recommended, because the coverage is less likely to be limited to particular colour(s). On the other hand, colour photographs might be appropriate if a particular colour combination is commercially important.

In the normal course of events, the design will be registered and published within a few weeks of filing the application. Examination is optional, although the registration must pass examination and be certified before it can be enforced or before threats of enforcement can be made.

An Australian design registration lasts for an initial period of five years and can be extended for a further five years by paying a renewal fee.

Similar design protection is available in other countries. In most countries, an application for design protection can be filed up to six months after the Australian application is filed.

It is important to keep the design secret until an initial application for design registration is filed, although Australia’s 12-month grace period may excuse your own publications.