Before you apply for a design

The process for applying for registration of your design involves a number of steps. You need to make sure you understand and complete each step in order, so your application can be processed quickly and easily. There are also a number of things to know before you start an application.

What a design is

A design is the overall appearance of a product. The visual features that form the design include the shape, configuration, pattern and ornamentation.

A product is something that is manufactured or handmade. The mechanics of how a product works or operates are not protected by designs rights, but may instead be protected using a patent.

Some designs can not legally be registered. These include designs for medals, layouts for integrated circuits, Australian currency and scandalous design.

New and distinctive

Your design must be new and distinctive to be certified and legally enforceable.

New - it must not be identical to any design previously disclosed anywhere in the world. This includes anything published anywhere in the world or publicly used in Australia.

Distinctive - it must not be substantially similar in overall impression to any design previously disclosed anywhere in the world. This also includes anything published anywhere in the world or publicly used in Australia.

It may help your application if you state how the design is new and distinctive but this is not mandatory.

International design protection

If you file an application in another country within six months of filing your Australian application, the date of your Australian application will apply to that country as well. This is only the case if the country you are applying in is a member of the International Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (the Paris Convention).

You will need to prepare representations of the design and complete some forms, all in the style required by the foreign country.

More information

Last updated: 
2 March 2016