What is a registered design??
A registered design protects the visual appearance of a product, i.e. the way the product looks. This can include 3-dimensional features such as the product's shape or configuration, or it can include 2-dimensional features such as a pattern or ornamentation applied to the product.
A registered design provides a legal right granted to the owner of the design that entitles the owner to restrict others from exploiting the design so that the owner shall have and be able to enjoy the whole profit and advantage to be derived from the design.
The rights to exploit the design, i.e. a product embodying the design, include:
- making, hiring or selling
- offering to make, hire or sell
- keeping, for any of the above purposes
The requirements for a valid design to be registered are that:
The design must be "new"
A design is new unless it is identical to a design that has been previously used in Australia or that has been published in a document anywhere in the world.
The design must be "distinctive"
A design is distinctive if it is substantially different in overall impression to a design that forms part of the prior art base.
Duration of protection
The maximum term of protection is 10 years.
The design is initially registered for 5 years from the filing date of the design application and can be renewed for a single further 5 year term.
A design application contains a set of drawings illustrating the design.
Registration of the design can be requested immediately upon filing, but this can be delayed to avoid early publication of the design. However, registration of the design must be requested within 6 months from the filing date of the application.
A design application is not examined by the designs office - a mere formality check is conducted before registration.
However, before a registered design can be legally enforced against third parties it must be examined and certified. Should the examination fail, then the registered design will be revoked.