9 March 2022



Changes to help designers and improve the registered designs system are now Australian law. These changes will provide more flexibility during the early stages of seeking design protection. 

IP Australia’s Deputy Director General and Registrar of Designs Paula Adamson said the changes to the Designs Act reflected IP Australia’s renewed focus on making the intellectual property (IP) system more accessible for Australian businesses. 

‘The recent reforms to the Designs Act are just one step we’re taking to help customers achieve design rights,’ Ms Adamson said.

‘IP Australia remains committed to taking further steps as part of our process to reform the Australian Designs System.’

‘Our journey as leaders in the innovation of Australia’s IP right system is only just beginning.’

Key changes to the Designs Act include:  

  • introduction of a grace period;  
  • the simplification of the design registration process; and 
  • updated formal requirements.


What is a grace period?  

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

This means you can make your design public up to 12 months before applying for a design right, without losing your ability to obtain intellectual property (IP) protection.  

The grace period protects those who accidentally publish details of their design, or who were unaware they needed to file for protection before disclosure. For example, a designer who unintentionally publishes a design on social media can still seek protection for that design within the 12 month grace period.   

The grace period came into effect on 10 March 2022. 

It is important to note that the grace period only applies to applications filed on or after this date, and only to disclosures that occur/ed on or after this date. 

More information on the Designs grace period can be found here.


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 by removing the need to make  a request for registration. If you want to register your design earlier than that 6 month date, you can file a request to do so.   

More information on the design registration process can be found here.


What are the updated formal requirements?  

The formal requirement process for design applications has been streamlined.  

Formal requirements are rules related to the process of applying for a design application. For example, what information needs to be included in an application and how drawings should be presented.  

The updated formal requirements give the Registrar of Designs the power to specify formal requirements for design applications by written determination.  

This means that the relevant rules in the formal requirement process can be easily adapted and keep up to date with changing technology.  

Additional information on the updated formal requirements process can be found here.


What else should I know?  

The new requirements will apply to design applications filed on or after 10 March 2022.  

More information on these formal requirements can be found here.  

These changes to the Australian Designs System will help ensure Australians benefit from great ideas.

We are hosting a two-part Designs 101 webinar will address these changes in greater detail and help explain what these changes mean for designers looking to register their intellectual property (IP). Book your ticket now.

To stay up to date about further changes, Subcribe to our monthly newsletter - What’s New. For hmore information about design rights visit this page.