The appearance of your product can be a valuable commercial asset. It can be vital in setting yourself apart from other competitors in the industry. When you register a design, you register the visual appearance of the product as a design under the Designs Act 2003, for up to 5 years.

The design of a product refers to its shape, configuration, ornamentation and pattern, which are new and distinctive, and give your product a unique appearance. The appearance of the product can be registered as a design. If the functionality or the mechanics of your product that make it unique, then you can apply for a patent for the product.

Criteria for registration

For a design to be registered, it must be “new” and “distinctive”. A design is new if it is not identical to any design that has been seen anywhere in the world or on the Internet. A design is distinctive it is not substantially similar in overall impression to any other design that has been previously published anywhere in the world including the Internet.

Whether a design is new or distinctive must be determined on a case by case basis with research done as to all other designs that may be substantially similar all over the world and on the Internet.

There are restrictions against registration. Designs that fall under these restrictions cannot be registered:

  • The Australian currency
  • Scandalous designs which are offensive to the public or shocking
  • Medals
  • Layouts for integrated circuits

If you have previously disclosed your design publicly then it may also not be registrable. This is because once your design has formed part of the public knowledge, it cannot be considered new or distinctive for the purposes of registration.

The benefits of registration

Upon registration, you will gain a legally enforceable right and interest in the design which will allow you to use your design profitably while being able to prevent competitors from using your design without your permission.

You will also be able to license your design to other parties. This means that you can enter into a license agreement with other parties to use your design to generate revenue and publicity towards your business.

A registered design can also be identified as “personal property” which can increase in value and later be sold at a profit.

A design can only be registered for 5 years. After this time the design is considered to be part of the public knowledge and becomes free for anyone to use.


Identifying the design of a product rather than the mechanisms of the product can be difficult. For this reason it may be in your interests to consult with an intellectual property lawyer to obtain legal advice about your design and how it can be registered, to utilise its full potential to generate money for your business.

For more information on intellectual property law, please see: and

COVID-19 Business Survey
LegalVision is conducting a survey on the impact of COVID-19 for businesses across Australia. The survey takes 2 minutes to complete and all responses are anonymous. We would appreciate your input. Take the survey now.

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

The majority of our clients are LVConnect members. By becoming a member, you can stay ahead of legal issues while staying on top of costs. For just $199 per month, membership unlocks unlimited lawyer consultations, faster turnaround times, free legal templates and members-only discounts.

Learn more about LVConnect

Ursula Hogben
Need Legal Help? Get a Free Fixed-Fee Quote

If you would like to receive a free fixed-fee quote or get in touch with our team, fill out the form below.

  • By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails from LegalVision and can unsubscribe at any time. See our full Privacy Policy.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Our Awards
  • 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn
  • 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards
  • 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards
  • Most Innovative Law Firm - 2019 Australasian Lawyer 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer
Privacy Policy Snapshot

We collect and store information about you. Let us explain why we do this.

What information do you collect?

We collect a range of data about you, including your contact details, legal issues and data on how you use our website.

How do you collect information?

We collect information over the phone, by email and through our website.

What do you do with this information?

We store and use your information to deliver you better legal services. This mostly involves communicating with you, marketing to you and occasionally sharing your information with our partners.

How do I contact you?

You can always see what data you’ve stored with us.

Questions, comments or complaints? Reach out on 1300 544 755 or email us at

View Privacy Policy