Registered Designs – FAQs


What is a Registered Design?

A registered design protects the overall visual appearance of an article. Examples include designs for furniture, clothing, vehicles, appliances, electronic devices, sporting equipment and containers. A registered design may protect the overall shape and/or configuration (i.e. 3-dimensional) of a product or the pattern and/or ornamentation (i.e. 2 dimensional) applied to the product.

Why should I register my design?

Registered designs can provide legal protection against unauthorised copying of the design, currently up to 10 years. Once registered, your registered design can be a valuable commercial asset – you have the exclusive right to use, license or sell your design.

How is a registered design different from a patent?

Registered designs protect the overall visual appearance of an article, where patents protect functionality.

How do I know if my design can be registered?

Your design must be new and distinctive. Our experienced attorneys can conduct thorough searches to ensure your design is not substantially similar to any other registered designs.

How important are the drawings or photographs of the design?

Extremely important. We can recommend design and drafting professionals to ensure that the exact elements of your design are captured. Accurate illustrations will ensure appropriate protection.

How many applications do I need?

A design application can be filed containing: one design; a single design in relation to many products; or multiple designs, providing they all fall within the same product category.

Is confidentiality important?

It is a good idea to keep your idea or product confidential (use confidentiality agreements for employees, business partners or advisers) until you file your design application. You might lose the opportunity to register your design if you sell or discuss it in public before your application is filed.

What is copyright?

Copyright is the property of the author of an original work including literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Copyright protects how an idea or information is expressed, rather than the underlying idea or information itself. The term of copyright currently lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.

Where should I start?

We recommend that you speak with one of our attorneys regarding your protection needs. We will advise the required steps and costs involved. Please Contact us for more information.

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