The design of a product refers to its shape, configuration, ornamentation and pattern, which must be 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 make it unique, then you can apply for a patent for the product.

However, before you decide whether you should register your design or not, you should gain an understanding of the process of registration.

Can my design be registered?

Designs that are new and distinctive can be registered. According to Intellectual Property Australia, “new” means it cannot be identical to any design previously disclosed anywhere in the world, including the internet. “Distinctive” means that the design is not substantially similar to any design previously published anywhere around the world.

If you feel that your design satisfies the above, you may be able to register. We do, however, recommend speaking with an intellectual property lawyer as there are certain types of designs that cannot be registered under the law. You should speak with a lawyer to see whether or not you can register your design and how you can go about the registration process.

How do I register a design?

To register a design you need to be the designer of the design or a person who has ownership rights over the design despite not personally designing it. For example, if your employee creates a design during the course of their employment with you, you may have ownership rights over this design and be able to register it. Of course, this will depend on the specific facts of the matter.

Before registration you should also have a look to see whether there are any other designs that are similar to yours. If there exists a design that has already been registered, you may not be able to register your design.

If you are sure that your design is able to be registered then you can lodge an application for registration. After the registrar conducts a formalities check regarding your design, you may request for the design to be registered.

What if I can’t register my design?

If, after speaking with an intellectual property lawyer, you realise that it is not legally viable to register your design, you may publish your design. Make sure that, before you publish your design, you are absolutely sure that it cannot be registered.

If you publish your design, you will not gain any rights in the design but it could serve strategic purposes. For example, if you publish your design and it becomes part of the common knowledge, it will no longer be new and distinctive. This means that no one else (including yourself) can register a design that is similar to yours.


The process of registering a design can be complex and it is always best to speak with an intellectual property lawyer in order to understand your options in relation to the registration process.

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

Lachlan McKnight
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