1. Make sure it's the right IP for your needs
A design right only protects designs that have a physical form, can be manufactured or handmade, and produced on a commercial scale.
If you want to protect:
- A logo you've designed — apply for a trade mark
- A process or how your product functions — apply for a patent.
2. Keep your design a secret
To have the best chance of protecting your design, you should keep it a secret until you've applied. Even posting a picture on social media can make it difficult for you to claim a design right and enforce it.
If you need to talk to others about your idea, get them to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to make sure they won't disclose it to others.
What if my design has already been shared?
If you've accidently shared your design or didn't realise you needed to keep it secret, you may still be able to file protection under a grace period.
3. Search for similar designs
4. Know how a design right can impact other IP rights
Here's how registering a design right can impact other IP rights.
A design right may affect your ability to enforce copyright.
Patents and design rights can protect different features of the same product. For example, how a product works may be related to the way it looks. In this case, you may need to file your patent and design at the same time. This will avoid public disclosures that may impact the protection or enforcement of either the patent or the design.
You may use a trade mark to protect the name of a product range, and design rights to protect the visual appearance of each product.
The overlap between design rights and other IP can be complex. If you're concerned about this, we recommend consulting an IP professional experienced in designs.