A design refers to the features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation which give a product a unique appearance, and must be new and distinctive.

Understanding designs

A design is what makes a product look the way it does.

Design basics


Find out what a design right is and gain an overview of the time and costs involved. Also learn about what designs can't be registered.

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Registration and certification


A registered design helps give your business a competitive edge. Taking the next step to certify your design gives you the legal rights to defend it.

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International designs

If you plan on marketing your product overseas, you will need to consider registering your Australian registered design to help protect your product.



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Applying for a design

Below is an overview of the design application process.

    Decide if you have a design

    Work out whether it is a design right that you need or if you need another IP right.

    Don't publicise your designs

    It's hard not to tell others about something you are proud of, but you need to keep your design a secret if you want to legally protect it.

    Search for a design

    Before applying, search for previous registered designs. This will help you work out whether your design is able to be registered.

    Prepare your drawings

    Drawings and images are an important part of your design registration.

    File your application

    Once you have determined that you design is new or distinctive, you can register it though online services.

    Next steps

    Once you have filed your design there are a number of additional steps to take or consider.

Managing your design

Managing your design is important for making sure you gain the most benefit from your IP assets.

Renewing and amending your design


Your design registration lasts for five years from the filing date of your application. You may choose to renew your design registration for a further five years. If you do not renew your registration, your design will cease.

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Protecting your design


It is important to protect your design to gain the most benefit from your intellectual property (IP) asset.

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Understanding the legislation


If your registered design is infringed, or you believe it is being infringed, you should consider requesting an examination immediately. You may also wish to seek legal advice.

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Design initiatives

IP Australia is undertaking several initiatives to ensure the Australian designs system is fit for purpose and supports the Australian economy now and in the future.

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More about designs...

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Design examiners are often the first point of contact for many of the most ingenious innovations originating in Australia.

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This week IP Australia officially launched our new Customer Service Charter (CSC