How to respond to a dispute

If someone believes you're not the owner of a design, or that it isn't new and distinctive, they can dispute its registration. If this happens, we'll let you know and give you the chance to respond.  

What is a dispute?

A dispute is a formal challenge against a design right. Anyone can dispute its registration if they think it isn't valid.

What are the common reasons for a dispute?

Someone believes the:

  • Design isn't new and distinctive compared to ones that already exist
  • Applicant isn't the true owner of the design
  • Applicant wasn't entitled to apply for the design right.

When can it be disputed?

At any point, including:

For example, when someone thinks that relevant evidence wasn't made apparent during the assessment process.

What happens next?

If someone believes your design is invalid, they dispute it by:

  • Submitting a request
    • Include documents, circumstances, general knowledge and evidence to support their argument
  • We'll share a copy of the dispute and related details with you.

You decide if you want to defend against it.

How do I defend myself against the dispute?

We resolve design right disputes by:

  • Examining the design right
  • Allowing you to present evidence
  • Holding a hearing.

Either party can request examination or a hearing.

If you decide to defend against the dispute:

  1. Both parties will need to assemble evidence, documentation and arguments
  2. Evidence will be shared with the other party
  3. Either side can drop the dispute or continue with a written or oral hearing
  4. If you want to attend the hearing, you'll need to pay a fee
  5. You'll be asked to make a submission to argue your case at the hearing
  6. The hearing officer will evaluate all evidence and submissions and make a decision.

If you decide not to take part in any of the resolution process:

  • The dispute may continue without you
  • Your design right might cease.

If the dispute is successful, your design right may be:

  • Ceased
  • Revoked
  • Submitted in someone else's name.

If the dispute isn't successful:

  • Your design right application may continue to registration or the registration remains valid
  • We may issue a certificate of examination to you.

Evidence in oppositions