According to the Australian Designs Act a design is the overall appearance of a product resulting from one of more visual features of the product. A visual feature includes the shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation of a product. The shape and/or configuration of a product generally relates to the 3D features of a product whereas the shape and/or configuration relates to the 2D features of a product. The feel or a product or the materials used in a product are not visual features of a product.
What is a product?
A design is a thing that is manufactured or hand made.
What are the requirements for registering a design?
To qualify for a valid design registration a design must be new and distinctive when compared with existing designs, the so-called prior art base.
When is a design new?
A design is new unless it is identical to a design which forms part of the prior art base.
When is a design distinctive?
A design is distinctive unless it is substantially similar in overall impression to a design that from part of the prior art base.
Who is entitled to a registered design?
The person who created a design (i.e. the designer) or a person who derives entitlement from the designer is entitled to be recorded as the owner of a registered design. Where a designer creates a design in the course of employment or under a contract with another person, the other person is entitled to be recorded as the owner, unless there is an agreement to the contrary.
What is the process for obtaining an Australian registered design?
Design applications are lodged at IP Australia. Within six months of lodging the design the applicant must request registration of the design. A design does not undergo any substantive examination prior to registration. Rather, a design application rather undergoes a formalities check and, if in formal order, is registered. Important to note is that a design registration can only be enforced after it has been certified.
To be certified a request for examination of the application must be made whereafter a design registration will undergo substantive examination. Upon passing substantive examination a design registration is certified and a certificate of examination issued. Failure to pass substantive examination will result in the design registration being revoked.
What is the term of a registered design?
The term of a registered design is 10 years, provided a renewal fee is paid five years from the filing date of the design application.
Where can one obtain information on registered designs and design applications?
Information on Australian registered designs and design applications can be located at IP Australia’s ADDS database: