How to protect Registered Designs
Registered Design protection affords a monopoly on the shape, configuration, pattern and ornamentation of the product. This kind of protection is not as common in Australia compared with other jurisdictions but is equally as important.
Many designers and manufacturers are unaware that copyright protection does not extend to products which are ‘Applied Industrially’ – generally meaning products which are manufactured in bulk. Accordingly, if you have developed an industrial design, it is worthy of considering design protection to prevent infringement by third parties.
When may I register my new design?
Under the Designs Act 2003 (Cth), a design may be registered if the design is new and distinctive when compared with the prior art base. This means that, similar to patents, there must be a genuine advancement and uniqueness in the development of the design other than the feel of the product, the materials used in the product or the dimensions of a product where one or more dimensions is indefinite. Generally, colour, texture and 2D aspects of design are not new and distinctive factors for the purposes of registration.
How long does design protection last?
Design protection lasts for an initial five years and then a subsequent five years (if renewed) – ie. A maximum of ten years. During this time, the owner has a statutory monopoly over the use of the design.