How do I register a design in Australia?
The first step is a design registration search to confirm that your design qualifies for registration. An infringement (or clearance) search is also recommended to ensure that your use of the design does not infringe any previously registered rights of another trader. A design application is then made with IP Australia. This involves meeting certain formal requirements. Though not compulsory, we recommend including a Statement of Newness and Distinctiveness with the application. This will help define the innovative aspect of the design and can also have other legal implications regarding the design. IP Australia conducts a formalities examination to ensure all required information has been provided and, if the application is deemed satisfactory, it is registered and published (together with representations of the design, which you must provide) in the Australian Official Journal of Designs and on the Designs Register. A Certificate of Registration is also issued. This part of the registration process generally takes a few months.
However, a registered design does not provide legally enforceable rights against suspected infringements. To obtain enforceable rights, a design must be examined and certified. Upon request, IP Australia will examine the registered design to determine whether it satisfies the requirements of being ‘new and distinctive’. If these (and other) criteria are met, the design will be certified. At this point, legally enforceable rights can be used in infringement proceedings. You can obtain certification at any point of the design’s registration term.