How can you copyright protect a design?

To copyright protect a design, you would usually apply for a design registration. A design registration helps protect the appearance of a product, such as its shape or pattern. Registering your design makes it easier to prove:

  • that the design is legally yours
  • when you created it.

This will help if anyone tries to copy or use your design without your permission.

A design registration lasts for 5 years. You must renew your design registration every 5 years to keep it protected but up to a maximum of 25 years.

What you can register

Your design of something must be new and can include one or more of the following:

  • a physical shape
  • configuration (or how different parts of a design are arranged together)
  • decoration or colour
  • a pattern.

What you cannot register

You cannot register:

  • offensive material, for example swear words or pornographic images
  • designs making use of national flags you do not have permission to use
  • designs making use of official emblems or hallmarks, for example the Olympic rings or coats of arms
  • the functionality of a design, for example a chair that folds down more quickly than others of the same kind.

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