Filing a design before disclosure turned this concept into a commercial reality

Ash Newland with product The Scrubba Wash Bag

As part of our partnership of the 2016 Good Designs Awards, we’re taking a look at how intellectual property relates to your creative businesses and why it’s important to consider protecting your designs. If you’re a designer, you’ll know that having your original designs copied can prevent you profiting from your products.

Many designers have to let their ideas go because they didn’t look at protecting their intellectual property (IP) from the start. So how do you turn your design concepts into a commercial reality without others stealing your idea?

Ashley Newland, creator of the Scrubba Wash Bag – the world’s smallest washing machine – has first-hand experience and owes it all to his IP strategy. Ash is a patent attorney by trade so his approach is definitely one to be explored.

For many designers, the costs of registration can be daunting and IP is often put in the too-hard basket. Unfortunately for design rights, if you don’t get the correct IP in place before your product is disclosed, such as on your website, social media or a crowdfunding site, it can prevent you from getting it registered. This is because your design has to be ‘new’ or ‘unique’ to adequately secure IP protection.

You can also be severely restricting your international market coverage if you disclose your invention before filing. For the Scrubba Wash Bag, Ash had always considered that the Scrubba products would be global products and as such his IP strategy was to file patent, trade mark and design applications internationally.

Although filing can be a substantial financial outlay, Ash says it’s important to recognise that many of the costs come over time.

So far, Ash has not had trouble with grafters copying his designs or any known infringements. Investing in his IP with a registered design has protected the form and visual appearance of his product.

By Tessa, IP Australia

Discover more

If you’re a budding designer, and you would like to know more about protecting your creation, start by visiting the designs section of our website.

Thinking of crowdfunding to help fund your design? Ash shares his experience with crowdfunding on IndieGoGo and IP.

Good Design Festival 2016

This year, we’re partnering with Good Designs Australia for the 2016 Good Design Festival. Taking place at the iconic Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay Sydney, in the heart of VIVID Sydney – now the world’s biggest festival of light, music and ideas.

We’ll be presenting a keynote address at the Good Designs Exchange, as well as being on the panel for the forum discussion: ‘Who stole my Design – IP and Design Rights Forum’.

Be sure to keep Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May 2016 in your diary free to attend this exciting event.

4 May 2016


what puts me off filling a design or patent is all those stinking lawyers who troll through your records, searching for ideas to steal and manipulate for their own. filling a patent with you was the worst stupid thing I ever did.

In addition to filing fees & acquiring a patent, you need to have patent-litigation-insurance, if you are intending on actually defending the patent. Lawyers will steal - thats what they do. This is insurance to pay some lawyers to fight other lawyers.

It's all too difficult in australia. I have submitted a whole bunch of inventions to a US company that does the IP for you and then gives you a royalty if they licence your invention out. I have not heard anything yet, but they seem to be legit.

How much does it cost to fight a multinational company who likes your idea ,then if you go the other route and try to sell it they copy and you lose. A patent attorney said unless your coca cola keep it hidden the n when you release you have anout two years to make your money ,the let it go

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