Australian regulations provide excellent protection for new ideas, inventions and products. One of the most versatile forms of intellectual property is design registration.
Registering your design is an excellent way to protect the unique appearance of your products. This increases the value of your products, helps grow your business, improves brand awareness and differentiates you against competitors.
Design registration is a relatively straightforward process, but it only provides protection for a limited period of time. In this article, we’ll find out how long a registered design lasts in Australia, as well as what happens when your protection ends.
A registered design protects the appearance of a new and distinct product (or parts of a product). This includes the shape, pattern, ornamentation and configuration of the product.
Design rights are intended to protect the unique appearance of products. Designs can affect how consumers perceive and interact with products, so they hold significant value for brands.
Registering a design only protects its unique appearance. Design registration does not protect the functionality of a product, how it was designed, or the materials used in manufacturing.
Registered designs last for a period of 5 years in Australia. They can be renewed for a further 5 years. This means your design can be protected for a maximum of 10 years.
Registering a design in Australia grants you the exclusive right to commercially exploit your design within Australia. If you want to protect your unique designs in other countries, you’ll need to apply for design registration in each jurisdiction.
Every country has its own regulations surrounding designs. The duration of registration varies depending where you are in the world:
Duration of Registration
Designs last up to 15 years
Every year after registration
Designs last up to 15 years
Every 5 years
Designs last up to 25 years
Every 5 years
Design patents last up to 15 years from grant
The duration and renewal requirements of each country can present a challenge when managing your IP. It’s best to work with an IP attorney that will ensure your designs are protected and that registration is renewed on time, every time.
This is especially important if you are working with overseas partners to manufacture or sell your product.
Your design protection ceases once the registration period ends.
You are still allowed to use your design for commercial purposes, but you no longer have the exclusive right to that design. This means that other parties can freely use your design for their products.
We typically recommend maintaining your design registration for as long as possible. While you may not manufacture a product for the full duration of the design registration, your IP holds significant value. Preventing competitors from using your designs allows you to maximise that value and avoid unnecessary harm to your business.
A design that has been registered and certified grants you the right to take legal action against anyone who uses your design without permission (within Australia).
If someone copies your design, the first thing you should do is contact your intellectual property attorneys. Your attorney may be able to resolve the issue without the need to take the matter to court.
If that fails, as the IP holder, you may be able to obtain a court order that prevents others from infringing your design. A competitor that fails to abide by an injunction may be held liable for any damages their actions have caused.
For example, large brands manufacture products with recognisable design features. If a competitor were to copy these design features, it could cause confusion among customers, damaging the brand in the process.
In this case, design registration could be used to prevent competitors from infringing the design, and to seek damages if the brand is harmed.
Design registration is an affordable and effective way to protect your intellectual property. Since the design of a product can have a big impact on how customers perceive your brand, registration is crucial for anyone that’s looking to manufacture a product.
Registering and maintaining your designs is a straightforward process that should be handled by the IP attorneys at Kings!
Design registration is a multi-step process that requires proper documentation. We’ll also need to perform a search of existing designs to ensure that your product is unique and distinctive. Once that’s taken care of, our attorneys can register and certify your design, giving you exclusive control over your products.
If you are interested in registering a new design, or if you would like to manage an existing registration, speak to the attorneys at Kings!
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