Last updated: 
23 July 2020

Registration and certification are often confused. They are both stages in the design application process.


Registration protects your design for five years from the date the application was filed and can be renewed for a further five years.

If you do not renew your design it will cease. Once the design has ceased it passes into the public domain and is free for anyone to use.

A registered right gives you, the owner:

  • protection for the visual appearance of your product
  • exclusive rights to commercially use, license or sell the design.


Once a design has been registered it can be examined. If the examination results in certification your design right is then legally enforceable.

The benefits of certifying your design right are that if another person uses your design without your permission you can take action to stop them. You can only do this if your design is certified.

To be certified, a design must be new and distinctive.

The main purpose of examination is to find earlier, similar designs to the one you wish to protect. If the examiner finds an earlier design which looks too similar to yours, your design may not pass examination. It does not matter who owns the earlier design. Even your own earlier design can prevent you from protecting a later design.

The difference between registration and certification

There are six stages in the design process. Registration and certification occur at different stages:

  1. you file a design
  2. you can request your design be registered
  3. we will do a formalities check
  4. once the formalities check is successful and/or any issues are resolved your design is registered
  5. once your design is registered we can examine the design if you have asked us to do this
  6. if we find your design to be new and distinctive we advise you that your design is certified - meaning you now have legal exclusive rights over your design.

More information

Decide if you have a design

IP infringement

Designs initiatives

Open consultation - Designs Amendment (Advisory Council on Intellectual Property Response) Bill 2020