If you have come up with an item that has a new shape, then you can apply for esign registration to protect the look of that item.

Design registrations (called "Design Patents" in the USA) don't protect the functional aspects of a new shape or configuration; rather, they protect the aesthetic appearance of a design as applied to an item.

A design thus refers to the features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation that give a product a unique appearance. A registered design gives you the owner, exclusive rights to commercially use it, licence or sell it.

What is a Registered Design?

A registered industrial design is used to protect the "look" of a particular item. As such, a registered design protects the appearance of an article, unlike a patent which protects the underlying invention on which an article is based.

Design registration is intended to protect designs which have an industrial or commercial use. Australia, the initial term of a Registered Design is 5 years, and this can be extended by term of a Registered Design is 5 years, and this can be extended by of a renewal fee.

Even though the underlying principle of operation may be the same as a known article, a new appearance

Can I Register My Design?

To be registrable (i.e. eligible for protection), your design must be "new" and "distinctive". This means that you should have originated it and not copied it from somewhere else. In other words:.

-New: it must not be identical to any design previously disclosed anywhere in the world (including on the internet), nor any design previously used in Australia;

-Distinctive: it must not be substantially similar in overall impression to any design previously published anywhere in the world (including on the internet), nor any design previously used in Australia.

Design Classification Designs are grouped into different classes of technology and a design application may be filed in one or more classes, to provide protection against infringing products falling in the same class.

It is important to note that the protection is limited to articles falling in the same class for which the design has been registered. The classes into which designs are classified are set out at the end of this page. You can't get designs protection for:

- Medals

- layouts for an integrated circuit

- the Olympic rings symbol, the Olympic motto or the torch and flames design, prescribed under the Olympic Insignia Protection Act

- the word Anzac

- information or graphics which might reasonably be regarded as scandalous

- coins or notes of a kind prohibited by subsection 19(1) of the Crimes (Currency) Act 1981

- the coat of arms, flags or seal of the Commonwealth or any state of the Commonwealth

- the coat of arms or emblems of any city or town in the Commonwealth or any state or territory or public authority or public institution in Australia

- armorial bearings, flags, state or territory emblems or signs of any country other than the Commonwealth.

Is your design new?

It's always best to conduct a designs search first before spending money on filing a designs application, except if your are an absolute expert in your field and you have intimate knowledge of the market.

It is possible to do your own designs search. For Australian innovators, you can use the IP Australia designs database called ADDS, and which contains pictures and details of designs filed in Australia. This is free, so have a look.

Designs searching can be tricky. We are specialists in doing designs searches, as well as patent searches, so please contact us if you would like us to do a search on your behalf. Our costs for such searches in Australia


Costs for design registration

To compile the required drawings and description and pay the government fees for filing in Australia, usually costs $1850, if there are no issues raised by the Designs Office.