Before you apply

To help make sure your application for design registration is successful, there are a range of issues that you should consider before you apply.

Is my design eligible for registration?

Your design must be new and distinctive to be registered.

  • New - meaning it must not be identical to any design previously disclosed anywhere in the world (including on the internet), nor any design previously used in Australia
  • Distinctive - meaning it must not be substantially similar in overall impression to any design previously published anywhere in the world (including on the internet), nor any design previously used in Australia.

Search for similar designs

Before you apply, we recommend you search existing registered designs. If your design is not new and distinctive you may not be able to get registration, or your registration may be of no value.

You may also face legal action if you infringe the design rights of the owners of other similar designs. IP professionals can assist you with searching and applying to register or publish your design.

When an examiner decides whether a design registration is new and distinctive, emphasis is placed upon any similarities that it shares with any designs in the prior art base. The prior art base includes anything that has been previously published or disclosed to the public anywhere in the world. This can include the internet, magazines, journals, official publications, and television programs.

Not all designs are registrable

You cannot register a design featuring:

  • medals
  • layout for an integrated circuit
  • the Olympic rings symbol, the Olympic motto or the torch and flames design, prescribed under the Olympic Insignia Protection Act
  • the word Anzac
  • information or graphics which might reasonably be regarded as scandalous
  • coins or notes of a kind prohibited by subsection 19(1) of the Crimes (Currency) Act 1981
  • the coat of arms, flags or seal of the Commonwealth or any state of the Commonwealth
  • the coat of arms or emblems of any city or town in the Commonwealth or any state or territory or public authority or public institution in Australia
  • armorial bearings, flags, state or territory emblems or signs of any country other than the Commonwealth.


Last Updated: 23/11/2013

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