If the appearance of your product is unique, it may be worth protecting with a registered design. Design registration protects the overall appearance of a product, and can also act as a deterrent to others who might want to copy and commercialise a product with a similar appearance. A registered design can also be a good alternative for protecting a product where a patent is unavailable or not warranted.

As the owner of an Australian registered design, you will have the exclusive right to stop others making, selling, importing or exploiting the product that embodies the design. A design registration lasts for five years and is renewable for a further five years. It provides the exclusive right to:

  • make the product in Australia
  • import the product into Australia
  • sell, hire or otherwise dispose of the product in Australia
  • use the product in Australia
  • keep the product in Australia
  • authorise others to do any of the above.

Our attorneys have extensive experience in helping clients with all aspects of design registration, from advising on the registrability of a design, through to the preparation of drawings and design enforcement. We will work closely with you to ensure that your unique design is protected and your commercial objectives are met.


Filing a design application is the first step of the design registration process, and this would typically be handled by one of our experienced patent attorneys. It is important to seek protection early to minimise the risk of a competitor registering a similar product and securing an earlier filing date. It is also important to ensure that the design is not publicly disclosed prior to filing a design application, as prior disclosure will likely invalidate the application.

Based on the particulars of your product, we will assign an attorney who has the highest level of technical knowledge related to your invention. The attorney will guide you through the registration process and manage your application in all countries where protection is sought.


As the owner of a registered design, you will have the exclusive rights to commercially use, license or sell the design. Registration will protect your design for five years from the date the application was filed and can be renewed for a further five years.

Once you have lodged your application, it will undergo a formalities check at the Designs Office. If there are no issues with the application, you will be granted a registered design. However, occasionally the Design Office will reject the application and issue a ‘formalities report’, and you will have two months to re-submit the application. It is important to be aware that it is a possibility. Should this occur, we can deal directly with the Designs Office on your behalf and make any necessary revisions to the application within the set time frame. We have a proven track record of successfully helping clients with this issue.

Who to contact

BEng(Hons) FIPTA

Davin leads both the designs and sustainability & clean technologies teams. He joined Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick in 1992 and gained several years’ experience in patent and design searching in our information systems department.

To find out more, please contact

Davin at davin.merritt@pof.com.au