A registered design is a valuable commercial asset. It provides its owner the protection for the visual features of the product.
Registered Designs are a form of Intellectual Property which protects the visual appearance of an item. Generally, the shape, colour, ornamentation or pattern of an item can be protected so that a copier of the shape, colour, ornamentation or pattern of the item will infringe the design.
Items which are commonly protected by registered designs include any product which has a distinctive appearance. For example, cars, bikes, boats, furniture, general household items, telephones, tools or product containers are common items which are protected by Registered Designs.
The maximum term of a registered design is 10 years.
To obtain a Registered Design in Australia, we must submit visual representations of the item to the Designs Office (IP Australia). This
is usually done by the provision of line drawings of the item, although photographs in certain situations may be appropriate. Once we file these drawings with the Australian Designs Office, the design may undergo a formalities check. Once the checks are completed and objections (if any) are overcome, the design will become registered.
Please note that an Australian Registered Design is not enforceable (i.e. Cannot be used to initiate litigation with an offending party)
until it has been certified. The certification process is optional and is usually undertaken when there is a commercial or legal need. To have the Registered Design certified it must be examined by a Designís Examiner. The Examiner may review existing Designs Databases to check if the Registered Design is novel and meet all other requirements of the Designs Act. If the Examiner raises any objections, these will need to be overcome. After which the Registered Design may be enforceable against a potential infringer.
It is possible to obtain overseas protection for your design by filing a design in each of the countries which you wish to obtain protection. The deadline to do so is 6 months from the filing of the Australian Registered Designs.