Last updated: 
12 July 2021

What is a formalities notice?

During the formalities assessment we make sure your application meets the legislative requirements. If your application does not meet these requirements, we will let you know in writing. We call this report a ‘formalities notice’.

If you receive a formalities notice, this does not mean your application has been rejected. Issues raised at this stage are generally easy to overcome.

What is included in a formalities notice?

A formalities notice will include:

  • the details of your design
  • the name and direct phone number of the examiner who conducted the formalities assessment
  • an explanation of why your application does not meet the legislative requirements
  • an explanation of what you can do to overcome the issues raised
  • the deadline for overcoming the issues.If you do not overcome the issues within this time frame your application will lapse.

Responding to a formalities notice

You must respond in writing. We encourage you to provide your response using our online services. We cannot accept responses via email.

When responding to a formalities notice:

  • make sure you understand your options. If you need further clarification, ring your examiner as soon as possible (their phone number is included at the bottom of the first page of the formalities report). They are more than happy to assist you
  • only address the issues your examiner has raised. This is not the time to make additional changes. Learn more about amendments
  • make sure you include your name and what company you are from (if applicable). We need to ensure you are authorised to respond.


You have 2 months from the date of our formalities notice to resolve the issues raised. If you can’t overcome the issues within this time, your application will lapse.

It is important to respond as soon as you can. This will give your examiner plenty of time to consider your response and let you know if any further information is required.

Under limited circumstances the 2-month timeframe can be extended for a fee. Learn more about extensions of time.

What are some common issues raised?

Common issue 1: Not supplying mandatory application details.

If this is the case, we will ask you to supply the missing details.

You can supply this information in a written response to overcome this issue.

Common issue 2: The product name is unclear.

In this case, we will ask you to supply more information about the exact nature of your product.

Usually you can overcome this issue by requesting to update your product name so it is clear enough to be classified in one Locarno class.

Learn more about clear and concise product names.

Common issue 3: The representations are inconsistent with each other

Each design in an application needs to be identified and paid for. If an application contains designs that have not been specifically identified and paid for, they are called ‘further designs’.

We may find that there are further designs in your application. If there are inconsistencies with your representations, we will explain them to you.

Learn more about consistency in representations.

If we find inconsistencies, we will ask you to choose one of these options:

  1. If you only intended to file one design, you can update your representations to ensure they are consistent. This option does not attract any fees.
  2. You can withdraw/delete all but the one design you wish to proceed with. This option does not attract any fees.
  3. You can proceed with each further design as a separate application. Each new application is known as an ‘excluded design’ and attracts a fee.
  4. If the designs can be categorised in the same Locarno class, you can convert this application into a ‘more than one design’ application. This attracts a fee.