Last updated: 
28 September 2016


Designs registration

After putting in a request to register a design, can I change my mind?

Yes, you may replace the request for registration with a request for publication. You also have the option to withdraw the design.

How long do I have to lodge a request for publication or registration?

You must lodge a request for all of the designs in an application within six months from priority date.

Is there any way of deferring registration of a design?

The only way to defer registration is not to request registration or publication. However registration or publication must be requested within six months of the priority date of the application or the application will lapse.

What is the benefit or purpose of selecting publication of the design as opposed to registration?

The only benefit or purpose is that by selecting publication you would be getting a ‘defensive publication’.

What is the difference between registration and publication?

Registered designs can be made enforceable by certification, and carry exclusive rights. Published designs do not give any rights.

At filing, what checks are performed? (Other than that the fees match the number of designs indicated)?

We check for:

  1. clear indication that a design application is definitely what you intend to apply for and not something else such as a patent application or a trade mark application
  2. information that establishes your identity
  3. contact details
  4. a representation of the design.


Examination and certification

How do I get a Certificate of Examination?

You will need to request and pass examination.

How does IP Australia do its searching?

We search:

  1. our online Australian design search for anything after 1985 and hard copy for anything before 1985
  2. our online trade mark search for Australian trade marks
  3. our online patent search for Australian patents
  4. the registers of other countries that have organised online databases
  5. the internet.

I have seen a design overseas. Could I register it in Australia?

Probably not. In order to apply for registration, you must be the legal owner of the design. Also, under the Designs Act 2003 (the Act), designs published in a document within or outside Australia form part of the prior art base.

If someone else requests examination of my design, who pays the examination fee?

The person requesting the examination pays half the fee and you pay the other half.

What is the time limit for the owner to pay the other half of the examination fee (if examination is requested by another person)?

Two months. This will happen by the issue of an invitation to pay. This is detailed in the fees part of the regulations.

In the case of infringement of a registered design, can damages be claimed back to the filing date of the application?


Is a registered design enforceable?

Not unless it has been examined and had a certificate of examination issued.

What will examination cover?

Examination will include a search of prior art, and checks against similar products/designs. If your design is found to be new and distinctive you will receive a certificate of examination.


Multiple designs

If I file an application including multiple designs and during examination, one or more of those designs is found to be invalid, will all the other designs also be held invalid?

No. Each design in a multiple application will be considered as a separate design when it comes to examination/revocation. This means when one design in a multiple design is found to be invalid the others are not affected.

In a design registration containing multiple designs, can I (the owner) choose to examine or renew only some of the designs (not all of them)?

In this case the designs will be registered individually, even though they were lodged as a single design application. This means that each individual design registration, which only has one design, can be renewed and/or examined as needed.

Is there a discount when filing multiple designs?

No. The cost for multiple designs is simply the cost for a single application applied to each design in the application.

When registering a design if, there are three variations on the one theme do you need to lodge three different applications or can you do this on the one application?

Only one application is required if it is a common design being applied to different products. If the three variations are in fact different designs three designs applications (or a multiple design application, if it meets the requirements of a multiple design application) will be required.

Would you need a different set of drawings for each variation?



Opposition to designs

Are there options available to oppose a design other than requesting examination?

There are some opposition procedures you can choose to use. Some examples are opposition to extensions of time, disputes between applicants and surrenders. However if you want to establish the validity of your registration you will need to have your design examined.


Timeframes for designs

What is the term of a registered design?

A maximum term of ten years, with a renewal fee payable after the first five years. If you don't renew your design after five years, registration will cease.