Designs application - what to include

You can apply for a design online

How many designs can you apply for in one application?

A single design application may be made for:

  • one design in relation to one product; or
  • one design that is a common design in relation to more than one product; or
  • more than one design in relation to one product; or
  • more than one design in relation to more than one product, only if each product belongs to the same Locarno Agreement class.

A single application must not contain designs from more than one of the above categories. If you file a single application for more than one design, all the designs must meet the official requirements before any can be registered.

The number of designs in the application should be clearly indicated on the application form.

You also need to specify the products to which the design relates. The rights you obtain through registration will be for the design in relation to the products to which the design is registered.

Locarno Classification

The Locarno Classification consists of a classification for industrial designs. It is based on a multilateral treaty administered by World Intellectual Property Organization. The classification comprises a list of 32 classes and 219 subclasses of industrial designs used in over 7000 different kinds of goods.

Multiple designs

Where either 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 or products needs to be clearly stated on the application form.

This is so that each product can be classified in accordance with the Locarno Agreement. Where a design is registered or published it will be displayed on ADDS according to its Locarno class. This makes searching for similar designs much easier.


To assess your application for design registration, we need representations of how the design looks. Representations are illustrations of the design and should show an accurate and complete picture of your design applied to the product, as the eye would see it.

There is no requirement for a specific number of views. However, you must provide sufficient views to fully display your design, which usually requires a number of views.

Perspective or isometric views are desirable. All views must show exactly the same design. This particularly applies to colour, as colour is usually a visual feature of the design.

If your application includes a statement of newness and distinctiveness the representations should be consistent.

Drawings should: 

  • be accurately drawn, not sketches with well-defined, even black lines
  • only show the design in questions - materials such as descriptive wording or dimensions should not be included, however labelling of views such as "perspective view" or "rear view" is acceptable
  • use broken or dashed lines when highlighting:
  • elements of the product other than those bearing the visual features of the design
  • parts of the design that are not referred to in the statement of newness and distinctiveness
  • boundaries, such as a pattern applied to part of a surface, stitching and perforations
  • features that establish an environmental context (in use).

Shading and cross-hatching can be used to show a visual feature of the design.

Complex Products

Sometimes a design is applied to a part of a complex product and that part can be readily assembled and disassembled from that product. If the component part qualifies as a product, then broader protection may be gained by defining this as a stand alone part.

Statement of newness and distinctiveness

A statement of newness and distinctiveness identifies visual features of the design that are new and distinctive. Providing a statement is optional. However, it can draw attention to features that help assess the newness and distinctiveness of the design.

It is best to use a statement to identify particular features of the design as new and distinctive at the application stage, or at the latest, before registration, as a statement cannot be added once the design is registered.

Priority date

The priority date of your application will generally be the date you file the application, unless:

  • you have a claim to priority from an earlier overseas design application
  • the design was excluded from an earlier design application in Australia.

Formalities check

Design applications now only undergo a formalities check prior to being registered. The Act implements a system of post-registration examination for substantive issues. Substantive examination will only be undertaken if requested.

Information provided may be made publicly available, including on the internet. Read our privacy statement for more information.

If you are planning to register a design, there are a number of points you need to consider.

Keeping records:

  • Take care when filing your application. After it is filed, only very limited amendments are allowed to the the application.
  • Keep a copy of all the documents (including the representations) you file for reference purposes.
  • Give each design a reference number or identifier, so you know which one it is.
  • If your design is registered, the protection given by registration takes effect from the priority date, which is usually the filing date.

Don't forget:

  • You can only claim that the design is registered once you have received a certificate of registration. Don't assume that your design is registered when the application is filed.
  • If you do not request registration or publication when filing your application, you must do so within six months from your priority date. Keep a diary or calendar reminder to ensure that you do request registration or publication, or your application will lapse.
  • Not all designs can be registered.
  • If you don't renew your registration within the initial five years, your registration will cease.
  • A design is not enforceable until it has been registered, examined and certified.

Last Updated: 23/11/2013

Meet Bradley
Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry

Patent Examiner since 2011
Learn more about working with us

Latest news

Stay up to date with the latest intellectual property news in Australia

Read more

Designs Case Studies

Includes a range of design case studies, including how to protect and enforce your design

Read more

Search designs

Learn how to search our designs online database

Read more


eServices is a secure, reliable and convenient way to access a range of IP Australia's transactions and services. With eServices, you can apply for an IP right or make a payment to renew your IP right.

Read more