Designs - WHAT is a Design?

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Historically, the Australian design protection system was based on the British system of protection which developed around the time of the industrial revolution.
Presently, the Australian design rights accord the owner exclusive rights to manufacture, sell, hold for sale or hire articles that are of an appearance that has been registered as a design with the Designs Office of the Intellectual Property Australia (see a sample of a registered design).

Although, there are substantial international differences, but which all share the common purpose of according a property right to the elements of shape and pattern that give a product a new physical appearance.
These differences are more perceptible especially when some of the design features relate to a functional design rather than its physical appearance. Under these circumstances, a design registration may be successful in the UK or US, but may be not recognised in France.

The physical appearance is characterised only by the two-dimensional/surface features, or three-dimensional, by a combination of these surfaces.

However, the functionality of a design is never protected automatically with the design registration. In most of the cases, this desavantage is avoided through a patent registration (if related additional costs are commercially justified).

Because of the blurred relative boundaries between a registered design and a registered patent, trade mark, or copyright author's rights, the design registration option remains only an economic alternative. Nevertheless, there are many situations when a design registration is the most efficient strategy to be adopted.
To overcome such difficulties, we recommend you that before you will take any decision, to conduct a combinative design, trade mark and copyright preliminary search.


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