A “common design” refers to a design application that is filed in relation to “more than one product” (see paragraph 22(1)(b) of the Designs Act). The Designs Act allows a common design to be filed as a single design application, this means the applicant only has to pay a single fee.
Currently there is limited guidance on how to interpret ‘more than one product’ in the legislation. Courts have yet to interpret its meaning, and there is limited guidance in the Designs Manual surrounding its interpretation. As such, this can create some confusion around the type of changes to a product required to differentiate it from another. Legislative change and/or education and awareness about the intended operation of this provision may provide benefits to applicants.