How can I get a registered design? Design registration is used to secure exclusive rights to exploit the aesthetic look of an object which you have designed. That object could be a practical item (such as a lamp, chair or suitcase), a garment or piece of clothing, or an operational machine. The design can protect the look of your product as a whole or a specific part of it. It can also protect the 2 dimensional features of the object (pattern or ornamentation) or the 3 dimensional features (shape and configuration).
When should I apply? It is important to apply for a registered design as early as possible and before any significant disclosure of publication of the design has been made. This is because a design has to be new in order to be enforceable, which means that even your own products can invalidate your design if they are available to the public before you file.
What is the difference between a registered design and a certified design? A design will be issued a registration certificate once it has passed a formalities test. However, a registered design is not enforceable until it has been examined and certified by IP Australia. Examination can occur at any time following registration, either on the request of the owner or by a third party. If a third party requests examination, they can provide the Examiner with their own prior art to be considered in determining if the design should be certified.
What protection does a registered design provide? A registered design provides you with an exclusive monopoly to commercialise your design and prevent similar designs from being sold and manufactured. The scope of your protection generally depends upon the originality of your design; the more original it is, the greater the scope for infringement. If a registered design is only slightly different to what has preceded it, the more similar the copy will need to be in order to infringe the design. A standard design registration lasts for 5 years and can be renewed for one further period of 5 years only, so the maximum term is 10 years.