Image of designer looking at laptop
13 September 2021

Changes to help designers and improve the registered designs system are now law.

These changes will provide more flexibility during the early stages of seeking design protection. Key changes include: 

  • Introduction of a grace period. 

  • Simplification of the design registration process. 

What is a grace period? 

A grace period is a set length of time after publicly disclosing your design where you can still file an application for design protection without affecting its validity.  

This means you can make your design public up to 12 months before applying for a design right. All without losing your ability to get IP protection. 

Currently, your registered design can’t be certified if you made it public before applying. 

This change will come into effect from 10 March 2022.

What is changing in the design registration process? 

Designs filed on or after 10 March 2022 will automatically proceed to a formalities check 6 months after the priority date of the application. This will simplify the registration process as a request for registration is no longer required. If you want to register your design earlier, you will be able to file a request to do so.  

The option to publish a design without registering will be unavailable for designs filed on or after 10 March 2022.

What else should I know? 

After 10 March 2022, the Registrar of Designs will have the power to set formal requirements for design applications in a written determination. This will replace the currently outdated requirements.  

We will conduct a consultation on a draft determination before the end of the year. Please subscribe to What’s New for updates on this consultation. 

Our program of design initiatives also continues, as we explore broader changes to shape the design rights system into the future:  

  • how to better support the iterative nature of design and increase confidence in how designs are protected throughout their lifecycle 

  • how the design rights system could accommodate parts of products and non-physical virtual products 

  • how to address confusion with the two-step process for securing design rights. 

Read more  

Learn more about the upcoming improvements.