In the cutthroat fashion industry, design houses have found more ways to sharpen their blades and corner more sections of the market. High street brands are increasingly diversifying by creating a poorer sister brand – we’ve seen it with See by Chloe and Alexander Wang for H&M, plus more. ‘Nasty Gal’ saw dollar signs when Taylor Swift recently attended an awards event sporting their white jumpsuit design, retailing for $45. Swiftly grabbing glory on social media, it all came tumbling down when Tay Tay confirmed that she was wearing high-fashion house Balmain’s design (retailing for $2,000), not Nasty Gal’s. If you want to register a design, this article will give you some tips and pointers.

How can I avoid such embarrassing faux-pas? Protect your design!

A design is protected if it is registered under this act. To register a design, you need to meet a few requirements.

A design is registrable if the design is new and distinctive when compared with the ‘prior art’ base for a design as it existed before the priority date of the design. The prior art base consists of designs publicly listed in Australia and those published in a document within or outside Australia.

What exactly is a ‘design’?

A design, in relation to a product, means the overall appearance of the product resulting from one or more visual features of the product.

Suggestions for protecting your design

  1. Do your research. Before you even think of registering your design, make sure yours does not infringe on an already existing design registration.
  2. Confidentiality is your best friend. Keep your precious design a secret until it is registered. Don’t show it, don’t upload it, post about it or sell it. If you don’t keep it secret, you can’t register.
  3. Spreading the word. After (and only after) you have successfully registered your design, make sure you advertise the fact that you have a registered design by including the words “registered design” on swing tags or other labels.


To register a design, get in touch with the design registration experts at LegalVision. We have IP lawyers with a wealth of experience in trade marks and design registration, who will provide you with a fixed-fee quote to assist.

Emma Heuston
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