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What do I need to know about managing my business’ designs?

What should I know about managing and protecting my business' design rights?

Securing protection for your intellectual property is an excellent step towards protecting your product from other businesses copying its unique look to their own advantage.

Chris Heyrock, inventor of the innovative NOROCK table stabilising system, shows the importance of protecting your valuable designs: ''Having IP protection demonstrates your ability to look after your business.''

However, simply attaining design protection only takes your business so far – you need to make sure you effectively manage your IP protocol and take the necessary steps to protect it when you need to.

Managing your design protection requires you to remain vigilant for misuse by competitors.
Managing your design protection requires you to remain vigilant for misuse by competitors.

Managing your design protection

IP Australia indicates that design protection lasts for five years from the initial filing date of your application. This is key to remember if you need to re-submit an amended application, as it can cause confusion over the date for renewal. If you do take on another period of protection, exclusive use of this design will automatically cease after a total of ten years.

You will be reminded of your option to renew your protection by IP Australia two months prior to expiry, and you will then have a six month grace period to apply for another term, in which cumulative monthly fees apply for delays in submitting your application. If you fail to renew your protection, it automatically lapses and you will have to apply again.

Failing to correctly look after your design protection can be costly or leave you exposed to copying. But if you manage it well, it should keep business competitors at bay.

Protecting your design

This requires a sound understanding of intellectual property legislation and knowing the correct steps to take if you discover your design being misused.

If you think your design has been misused, you can request a legal hearing.
If you think your design has been misused, you can request a legal hearing. 

An important note is that you can only pursue legal action against an offending company once IP Australia has examined your registered design and issued you a certificate.

A legal hearing can help to:

  • Dispute the legal rights an applicant has to a design;
  • Contest the formalities or examination findings of IP Australia or other relevant bodies;
  • Grant you more time if you are concerned about the loss of your rights when a design protection examiner does not agree with your application.

Legal hearings incur fees, so it is a good idea to discuss this design protection option with a legal professional.

''Each time we've started a new venture we've talked with a reputable intellectual property attorney and they have written up and lodged our applications formally'' said Chris Heyring. 

Take it from an innovator – even with knowledge in the intellectual property field, effectively managing and protecting your design rights is easier when you get help. Contact the experts at Alder IP today.