Types of IP

There are four types of IP you can register through IP Australia.

What IP can you register with us?

A trade mark legally protects your brand, and helps customers distinguish your goods and services from competitors.

You can use a trade mark for a logo, word, phrase, letter, number, sound, scent, picture, movement, aspect of packaging, or any combination of these.

Examples of trade marks

Nike swoosh logo

Cadbury purple

Shape of a Coca-Cola bottle

A patent legally protects your invention or how something works.

You can use a patent for new technology, devices, substances or processes.                          

Examples of patents


Google Maps


Cochlear implant (bionic ear)


Polymer (plastic) bank notes

A design right legally protects the overall appearance of your new and distinctive product. The appearance may be a combination of shape, colour, configuration pattern and ornamentation.

You can use a design right for the look of a whole, physical product if you're producing it on a commercial scale.

Examples of design rights
Zimmermann dress
Audi car model
King Furniture sofa

A plant breeder's right (PBR) legally protects the new plant variety you have developed.

You can use a PBR for new variations of plants and trees including flowers, vegetables, fruits, bushes and shrubs.

Examples of PBRs


Spartacus CL


Bravo Apple


Flame Legacy

Maximise your protection with multiple IP rights

You may need to protect your idea with multiple types of IP rights.

Example: Pink Lady Apples

Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL) protects its Pink Lady brand with a trade mark. The Pink Lady brand sells three apple varieties. They protect these varieties with plant breeder's rights (PBRs).

Trade mark
Pink Lady logo
Cripps Pink apple variety

What are the other types of IP protection?

There are other types of IP that we don't administer rights for. This includes copyright, circuit layouts and trade secrets.

Related content

Apply Enforce

Who owns intellectual property?

The owner of intellectual property (IP) isn't always the person who created the idea. Check you're the rightful owner before applying for IP rights or taking legal action.

Trade marks Apply

What are trade marks?

A trade mark protects your company's unique brand, products or services.

Trade marks Design rights

DesignByThem: IP and design

11 May 2021 | 4 MIN READ

How DesignByThem use trade marks and design rights for their unique products.