Last updated: 
6 October 2020

You do not need to engage an IP professional to apply for a design right. It is possible to apply by yourself. However, for some first-time applicants turning an idea into a commercial reality can be uncertain and daunting.

If you need legal, financial, or business advice there are IP professionals who can help you.

Who are IP professionals?

Depending on the advice you need, there are different types of IP professionals. They can make specific and separate contributions to design development and business establishment.

You may need advice from more than one IP professional. Examples of IP professionals include:

  • industrial designers
  • patent and trade mark attorneys
  • IP lawyers
  • accountants or consultants specialising in marketing and commercialising of IP
  • IP searching firms and monitoring service providers
  • other IP advisors in Government and the private sector.

How can IP professionals help you?

An IP professional can provide you legal, financial, or business advice. Some areas where they can provide advice include:

  • the best IP strategies for your business
  • prior art searching including availability searching
  • preparing and filing your application
  • confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements
  • commercialising your design
  • taking your design to international markets
  • licensing your design
  • drafting sketches or plans of your design
  • enforcement, prosecution, or infringement monitoring.

Learn more about getting the right IP advice.

How to choose an IP professional

As a government body, we cannot recommend one IP adviser over another.

However, we have some tips on how to choose one.

  • Ask other business owners or members of your industry association for recommendations.
  • Consider approaching an IP attorney who is registered with the Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board.
  • Do not assume that all IP professionals specialise in design rights.
  • Understand the different stages in your journey and how different IP professionals can help at each point.
  • Do some research. We have some links below which you may find helpful.
  • Understand how much they charge and how long they take to provide their service.
  • It is important to find an IP professional that you trust. If you withhold relevant information, it could hamper their ability to work in your best interests.

Before meeting an IP professional

It can be useful to do some preparation before you meet with an IP professional. This will help you get the most out of your time with them.

  • Try and learn more about IP. Even a basic understanding can help you understand your IP professional's recommendations.
  • Research what your competitors are doing. Bring the results with you. Even if you’re not sure if they’re relevant, your IP professional can make an informed judgment.
  • Be able to explain how your design is different to other designs in the marketplace.
  • If you have any sketches, plans and CAD drawings developed, take them with you.
  • If you have you disclosed your design to someone else or publicly, document this and bring this with you. Try to include as much information as possible.
  • If you have a business plan outlining how you will turn your idea into a commercial reality, bring this with you. This plan could include: how you plan on manufacturing and marketing your product, how you plan on commercialising your product, whether you intend to licence it, what markets you plan on selling in and when.


  • Austrade - helps Australian companies to grow their business in international markets, including through administration of the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme and the TradeStart programme, and promotes the Australian education and training sector in international markets.
  • Australian Copyright Council - The Council provides clear information about copyright matters and has a free legal advice service for those in the arts sector.
  • - an Australian Government initiative to make accessing government information, forms and services convenient for those planning, starting or growing their business.
  • Design Institute Australia (DIA) - The DIA is a peak industry body that represents Australian design and designers both domestically and internationally. The DIA has a free intellectual property advisory service that is available to all DIA Professional members.
  • Entrepreneurs' Programme - access to a national network of more than 100 experienced private sector Advisers and Facilitators helping businesses improve their productivity and competitiveness.
  • The Institute of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys of Australia (IPTA) - IPTA is the representative body for Australian patent and trade mark attorneys and provide a 'Find an Attorney' service on their website.
  • Trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board (TTIP Board) -The TTIP Board is a statutory body is responsible for administering the regulatory and disciplinary regimes for patent and trade marks attorneys in Australia and New Zealand.