Design refers to the features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation which can be judged by the eye in finished articles. Design registration is used to protect the visual appearance of manufactured products. To be registered, your design must be new and distinctive. In Australia, 'new' means the identical design (or one very similar) has not been publicly used in Australia nor has it been published in a document within or outside Australia. A design is 'distinctive' unless it is substantially similar in overall appearance to other designs already in the public domain.
A registered design gives you the exclusive right to use, license or sell your design. Design registration is intended to protect designs which have an industrial or commercial use. The protection you receive is only for the appearance of the article and not how it works.
In Australia, design registration is provided under the Designs Act 2001. Design registration in Australia initially protects your design for five years. You can renew the registration for a further five years. There is no provision for ‘unregistered design rights’ in Australia (however some aspects of the Copyright Act 1968 may provide rights or unregistered designs in some circumstances).
Compared with patent or trade mark registration, design law varies widely from country to country. However, as with patent and design rights, .smoorenburg. can attend to Australian and New Zealand Design applications. .smoorenburg. can also pursue design applications and advice on unregistered design rights in individual countries through our extensive network of IP associates worldwide.
.smoorenburg. can also arrange design searches in Australia and New Zealand or other countries through our network of associates. Design searches are usually directed to providing information regarding (a) the possibility of infringing another party’s design registration, or (b) the registrability of a design.