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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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