How to protect your designs the legally legit way

How to protect your designs the legally legit way

As a creator, each design you craft forms part of your unique intellectual property (IP). Neglecting to safeguard your designs could potentially allow others to use them without your permission. That’s something we want to avoid, right? 


If you're new to IP and its implications, take a moment to explore our Intellectual Property Fact Sheet. It provides a solid foundation on why securing IP rights for your creations is crucial. 


Is it a Design? 

Determine if your creation qualifies as a design. This includes any original visual features such as shape, colour, pattern, or any artistic creation unique to you or your brand. 


Why Protect Your Design? 

Securing your design is essential—it grants you exclusive rights to control its use and distribution. Keeping your design confidential is a condition for registration – once it is ‘public’ it can no longer be registered for a design right – if you are working with third parties consider having them enter into an NDA in relation to the designs existence.  

Registering your design not only protects it but also unlocks opportunities for monetisation, particularly through licensing. If you’re considering licensing your design to others and want to ensure a profitable arrangement, securing your IP rights through registration is critical. 

Basically, the purpose of registering your design is that if you saw someone on the market using or copying your design, you can (once you’ve completed all the necessary steps) enforce the right to make them stop using or making profits from it. 

IMPT:  Design right registration in Australia will only offer protection for Australia.  You will need to register in the country you wish to trade in if you wish to protect your designs, however, there are some situations where you may be able to apply to protect your designs internationally through the Paris Convention or the Haque System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs. 

Prepare and lodge a design right application  

  1. You will need to have images of your design from all angles; and  
  1. (optional) prepare a Statement of newness and distinctiveness statement’(SoND)  (where you can set out how your design is unique).  
    There are technical submission requirements for a design right application which you can learn more about on the IP Australia Website (or of course contact us for more information).  

Part one: Technical registration  

Where, meeting all the technical submission requirements, the design is registered with IPA.  

This process does not include IPA reviewing other designs and you don’t obtain the legal right to stop others using your design. You do, however, stop anyone else being able to register your design as their own in the first instance.  

This step takes approximate 2 months. 

Part two: Request for examination/certification  

Where IPA check the design against already registered designs, and, if found to be 'unique' it is certified, and you have the legal right to also stop others using the design.  

This step takes approximately 3 months. 

Duration of Registration 

Your design registration will be valid for five years, after which it can be renewed for one more five year period to extend protection. 

Do you want to License Your Design? 

Explore our Licensing Agreement Template to ensure you're set up for success. Our template is designed to help you craft clear, fair licensing agreements that protect your interests and maximise your earnings. Get your template today and start monetising your IP with confidence. 

Ready to Protect and Profit from Your Creative Work? 

Let us help you with the registration process. Our expert team can guide you through each step, ensuring your designs are protected. Connect with us today to learn how we can assist you in securing your intellectual property.  


Need a Starting Point for Your Business? 

Download our Business Startup Checklist to kick off your entrepreneurial journey with confidence!  






***Disclaimer. Please read!!***  


This article is for general information purposes only and should be used solely as general guidance. It does not and is not intended to represent legal advice or other professional advice. 


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