A Certificate of Design Registration is a legal document which includes representations of a design and confers a right to exclude others from applying the design to an article nominated in the Certificate for a maximum period of ten years.


The extent of the exclusionary right is dependent on the representations, the nature of the article, and any “Statement of Newness and Distinctiveness” appearing in the certificate of registration.


It is important to realise that a design registration protects the visual appearance of an article, not its function.  The protection of function falls within the realm of the patent system.

What sort of designs are registrable?

The Australian Designs Act defines a design as “features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation applicable to an article, being features that, in the finished article, can be judged by the eye, but does not include a method or principle of construction.


It will be noted that the act specifically excludes “a method or principle of construction”.  Accordingly a design registration protects a singular appearance of an article, or in some circumstances a set of articles.

What are the requirements for a design to be registered?

In Australia, a design must be new or original in order for it to be registrable. A design is said to be new if it has never before been known or previously been used in Australia, or anywhere else in the world, in respect of any article.  A design is said to be original if it has never before been used on any article that is similar to the article nominated in the application for design registration.


In contrast to patent protection, there is no grace period for design registrations.

The Designs Act prohibits designs from being registered in respect of the following:

  • Book jackets
  • Calendars
  • Certificates, forms, or other documents
  • Dressmaking patterns
  • Greeting cards
  • Leaflets
  • Maps and plans
  • Postcards
  • Stamps
  • Transfers
  • Medals

What sort of information must be provided?

In order for us to prepare the design application we require representations of the article to which the design is applied. The representations must be capable of clear reproduction by photocopying.


Black and white photographs are suitable, provided they show clearly those features of the design for which protection is sought.


Apart from representations we will also need your advice as to which features of the design you believe to be innovative.

How long does it take to prepare an application for a registered design?

In the event that the representations are in order, the application can be prepared in a day.


If you have more specific questions about design registration then just call or email us. We’ll be happy to answer your questions.

“Michael, there’s no way we would have been able to do something like this by ourselves (something we were considering before we contacted you).


-Summeet Pathak – CFO of Merchant Warrior

Visit our patent gallery to view a list of patents we have done for both large corporations and small businesses

As you know, brands and logos can be very valuable. As registered trademark attorneys, we can help you in all aspects of trade mark work including preparation of trade mark applications, assistance in securing trade mark registration in Australia, New Zealand and internationally

Read the biographies and qualifications of the all the patent and trademark attorneys at Michael Buck IP.


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