Last updated: 
18 December 2020

Our role is to administer the design rights system in Australia. We can provide you information about design rights and help you secure protection. It is up to you how to commercialise your design and bring it to market.

If you require personalised advice on commercialising your design, you may wish to contact an IP professional. Learn more about IP professionals.

Your commercialisation strategy

To achieve their long-term commercialisation goals, many businesses have a ‘commercialisation strategy’. Your IP can play a valuable role in this strategy.

Your commercialisation strategy will depend on many variables:

  • your individual circumstances
  • business capabilities
  • competitive environment
  • access to finance.

Learn more about commercialising your IP.

Design rights in a commercialisation strategy

Design rights bring the most value to your business when used as part of a broader commercialisation strategy. Successful Australian businesses often combine design rights with other types of IP such as patents and/or trade marks.

You may wish to consider the following steps as part of your strategy:

  • Explore how other registered IP rights (in particular trade marks and patents) can work together with your design right. In some scenarios, your IP may be better protected using another type of IP instead of a design right.
  • Familiarise yourself with the overlap between copyright and design protection, and how this may apply to your product.
  • There can be competitive and protection strategies outside of the IP system if your product has a short lifecycle or limited market value. An example of this could be a first-to-market strategy. Being first to market may be worth more to you than spending time going through the design application process.
  • Do some research to give you an idea of how your design compares to other designs in the marketplace. It can also help you to avoid infringing someone else’s registered right.

Carefully consider the timing of registering of your design right:

  • It is important to protect your design before you start sharing it publicly. Even posting one picture on social media could make it difficult for you to claim a design right and enforce it.
  • When you register your design we will publish it online. This is so others in the marketplace can be aware of what you are protecting. You should consider the implications of this for your strategy.
  • If you need to talk to others about your design before you apply for protection, you can consider using a written non-disclosure agreement.
  • Plan in advance what steps you will take if you find someone copying your design or using it without your permission. Learn more about enforcing your design and IP infringement.

These steps focus on design right protection in Australia. If you are planning on taking your product overseas, there may be other factors to consider. Learn more about international designs.