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Why file design registrations?

  • Design registrations are typically quicker and easier to obtain:

    • They are typically granted or certified faster than patent applications (potentially many years earlier) meaning IP enforcement action against competitors may be taken earlier.
    • They are typically granted or certified with little or no examination, making the likelihood of achieving grant or certification higher than for patent applications. Even where a full examination takes place, the process tends to be more straightforward.
    • Costs to file and achieve grant or certification are typically much lower than for patent applications.
  • Design registrations can offer clear protection against direct copying of a design, without requiring interpretation of any patent language.
  • Design registrations can offer protection for modest variations of the design and can leave competitors uncertain about what variations may be sufficient to avoid infringement.
  • In Europe and the UK, design protection lasts for up to 25 years, longer than the standard 20-year patent term. In Australia and most other countries, the term of protection is shorter, however.

Are there any drawbacks to filing a design registration over a patent application?

Design registrations protect the way something looks and not how it works. They can protect products that have new design innovations only, or that have new design and technical innovations. However, if a competitor can make a competing product look sufficiently different to the design of a product that is registered, even if they achieve similar technical advantages, they may avoid infringement. Design protection, therefore, offers weaker protection for technical innovations than patent protection. However, for many design innovations, they may provide the only form of registered protection available. Further, in combination, patent and design protection can provide a formidable barrier to competitors.

See more information on our registered designs service offering below.

See our Registered Designs Series

A series of design-related insights
Read on to find general information on registered designs and commentary on potential future directions for designs law in Australia following the Designs Amendment (Advisory Council on Intellectual Property Response) Act 2021. 
Read more