International designs

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

  • laws and procedures can differ greatly from country to country
  • you may need to have documents translated if the property 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 intellectual property (IP) professional
  • fees vary from country to country
  • certain countries, such as the US and the Philippines, will only accept applications made in the designer's name.

Your priority date in the country in which you are applying in is the filing date of your application in Australia. The priority date is the date from which your IP is effective from.

Applying internationally

You can apply for an international design in two ways.

1. A national application

You can make a new application in each country as if you were making a new application for your design for the first time.

You will need to prepare representations of the design and complete forms, all in the style required by the foreign country. You would file the application in the country's industrial property office, using the services of an agent if required.

2. A convention application

You can make a new application in each foreign country within six months of your Australian application and request your Australian filing date to be used for your international protection as well.

This is possible because Australia belongs to the International Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (the Paris Convention) together with 150 other countries.

A convention application has several advantages:

  • you have up to six months to lodge an application in a foreign country
  • the date you filed your Australian application is the priority date for your international protection as well
  • any public disclosure of your Australian application during those six months will not affect the newness of your foreign application.

If you lodge your foreign application more than six months after your Australian application, you cannot have the date of filing of your Australian application as the priority date. In this event, any disclosure of your design before you file your foreign application could affect the newness of that application.

If you are lodging a convention application 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.

The World Intellectual Property Office maintains a directory of international IP offices.

More information

Last updated: 
26 February 2016