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How do I register a design overseas?

No 'worldwide' registered design

There is no such thing as a 'worldwide' design. A design is registered by a government of a country.

The Australian Government, for example, does not have power to register a design that would apply in the United States. Nor does the United States Government have the power to register a design that would apply in Australia.

Applying for a registered design in other countries

There are 2 ways to apply for a registered design in other countries:

  1. You can file a separate and independent application in each country where you decide to pursue the registration of the design.
  2. You can file an application in countries that you select, within 6 months of the date of your Australian application, and nominate the date of your Australian application as the priority date for all the foreign applications.

The advantages of filing foreign applications within 6 months of your Australian application, and nominating the date of your Australian application as the priority date for all the foreign applications, include:

  1. The judgment of the newness of your design is made as at the priority date, that is the date of the Australian application.
  2. Any public use or disclosure after the date of your Australian application will therefore be disregarded in determining the eligibility of your foreign applications.

The period of 6 months to make the foreign applications is strictly applied.

If you apply for the registration of a design after that 6 month period, the newness of the design will be assessed as at the date of the foreign application, so any prior public use might operate to disqualify you from succeeding with the foreign application.

When to register a design outside Australia

In practice, you would consider applying for a registered design in those countries where you anticipated:

  1. selling the products protected by the design
  2. exporting the products protected by the design
  3. licensing the products protected by the design.