Last updated: 
18 December 2020

An Australian design right does not give you protection outside of Australia. If you plan on marketing or manufacturing your product in another country, you should consider IP protection there.

IP registration and protection can be a complex process, especially in an international setting. It may be in your best interests to consult an IP professional experienced in designs. Learn more about IP professionals.

Applying in different countries/regions

In most cases, you will have to apply for a design right in your country of interest directly.

Each country or region (such as the European Union) will have its own legal requirements and terms of protection. In some countries, designs can be protected without the need for registration.

You will need to prepare your application in the style required by the foreign country or region. We do not provide application forms, receive applications or fees on behalf of overseas intellectual property offices. We do not give advice or assistance on prosecuting applications in foreign countries.

We recommend that you research the requirements directly with your country of interest before you apply. Learn more about taking your IP global and applying for a design right in:

What to consider before applying overseas

Before you apply for design protection in another country, consider:

  • Laws and procedures can differ greatly from country to country.
  • Fees and timeframes vary from country to country.
  • You will need to prepare representations of the design and complete forms in the style required by the foreign country.
  • You may need to have documents translated if the IP office does not use English as their official language.
  • If you are not a resident of that country you may have to use the services of an IP professional.

Paris Convention

Australia belongs to the International Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (the Paris Convention). Over 170 countries are party to the Paris Convention. Learn more about the Paris Convention.

If you apply in any of these countries, you can use your earlier application as the basis for a new application in that country. This means the priority date of any subsequent applications can be the same as the date applied to the original application.

To receive the earlier priority date, you must apply in another country that is party to the Paris Convention within 6 months of applying in the original country. The subsequent application is called a ‘convention application’.

You may also need to supply a certified copy of your original Australian application, known as the ‘basic document’. You can obtain certified copies of your Australian application via our online services and paying a fee. We can supply certified copies to participating IP offices via WIPO-DAS. WIPO-DAS offers a simple and secure digital alternative to filing paper copies of priority documents with multiple intellectual property offices.

If you lodge your foreign application after the 6-month period, your priority date will be the day you applied in that country, rather than the date of your earlier application.

The Hague System

The Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs (the Hague System) allows you to register up to 100 designs in a large number of countries or regions. You can do this through a single application.

Australia is not a contracting party and cannot accept applications under the Hague System.

Australian applicants can file through the Hague System directly with another contracting party if they fulfil one of the following requirements:

  • They are a national of a contracting party or a member state of an intergovernmental organisation which is a contracting party, such as the European Union or the African Intellectual Property Organization.
  • They have a residence in the territory of a contracting party.
  • They have a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment in the territory of a contracting party.

Learn more about the Hague System.