A design refers to the overall appearance of a product resulting from one or more visual features of the product including:
- Pattern or
Design registration gives the owner exclusive rights to commercialise, licence or sell the design.
It is important to note that a design registration protects the overall appearance of the product, but not the mechanical operation which would be protected by a patent.
In order to register a design the visual features must be new and distinctive, creating a unique appearance. Our IP team can assist in prior art searches to determine whether your meets this criteria.
To protect the distinctiveness of a design prior to registration it is important not to publicise it anywhere in the world. Any conversations relating the invention of a design should be covered by a confidentiality agreement.
Applying for a design registration
An application for a design registration must be accompanied by accurate drawings or representations of the design, and payment of the appropriate fees.
With application fees starting at $250 per design, a design application is a worthwhile investment to protect your intellectual property.
Once the design has passed a formalities check, the applicant has six months to request the design be published or registered. A registration lasts for five years and may be renewed for a further five years.
Publication is an alternative and acts as a defensive measure so that other similar designs may not be granted registration.
In order to legally enforce a design, the design will need to be certified. An examination request to achieve certification must be accompanied by a statement regarding the newness and distinctiveness of the design and a further fee payment. This assists the examiner in deciding whether the design is distinguished, or substantially similar in overall effect to another design. A third party may also request examination of a design in order to determine its newness and distinctiveness.
Our IP team can assist in the design application process, enforcement of design rights or design related disputes. Contact our IP lawyers for further information or advice.