This transcript is for the video Dream Shield - Designs.

Alison Page: As a designer I'm constantly looking for truly inspired creations that appeal to customers. But successful designs can attract copycats. It's a frustrating problem but there are simple ways to protect your hard work. I've been creating one off designs for years and these are protected by copyright, but if you're expanding into larger production runs it's a good idea to register your designs. Which is where you really need the help of a business advisor.

Hamish - Business advisor: Really great to see you Alison. So, tell me about your new business.

Alison Page: Well Hamish, I'm an Aboriginal designer which means you know I design a whole lot of things that are inspired by Aboriginal culture.

Hamish - Business advisor: So Alison, have you thought about protecting your design?

Alison Page: I'm about to launch a new faze of my business, going into large productions of my designs. Copyright covers my original work, but I need to register my designs if they are going to be mass produced. Registering your designs is important if you're ever going to sell your business or even if you want to licence your designs to manufacturers.

Alison Page: Look, when I started my business, I mean it's design I was so excited. I mean I basically just go out into the landscape, I find things that inspire me and just get designing. So for me, designing creations that inspire people, that's all the stuff that really gets me going but what pays the bills, that’s a totally different story. My business consultant took me through a check list for start up companies, things you absolutely need to know.

Hamish - Business advisor: How would you feel if someone copied you're design?

Alison Page: I would be totally devastated if somebody had stolen my designs, take this design here, it's got a really beautiful story at it's core and also just doing the designs itself it takes so many hours, I would just feel totally ripped off and completely devastated. Start by asking yourself whether it's worth protecting your designs, if someone else is commissioning your work, any written agreement should cover who owns the intellectual property and on what terms. But if you're creating your own work that you want to licence or manufacture. Theft of your design could waste alot of time and money, it’s definitely worth protecting.

So how do I go about registering my designs? It's not an automatic process is it?

Hamish - Business advisor: No, the design has to be new and distinctive.

Alison Page: Well, my designs are new and distinctive.

Hamish - Business advisor: New in this case means new to market, so the market can't have seen it before. There can't be brochure produced on it, it's got to be totally new.

Alison Page: Well it's going to be too late for this one as I have already made a brochure.

Hamish - Business advisor: Yes

Alison Page: So I won't know anything until I lodge an application with IP Australia?

Hamish - Business advisor: You can get some professional help and in fact if there is a lot riding on it I would recommend you do so.

Alison Page: A design can be a valuable asset but to be registered it has to be new and distinctive. For more information on designs contact IP Australia, a local business advisor or an attorney.

Last updated: 
Wednesday, April 6, 2016