D04.2 Design in relation to a product

Date Published

The definition of “design” under section 5 of the Act is:

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

The design right granted under the Designs Act is a monopoly in a design. It is not a monopoly in a product, nor in the trading of the product that it is registered in relation to.  It is a conception, suggestion or idea as to features of shape, configuration, pattern and ornamentation applicable to a product, and not a product which is the thing capable of being registered. [See, for example, Re Clarke's Registered Design (1896) 13 R.P.C. 351 at 358.] Without the design, the product would still have its basic character.  For example a chair would still be a chair, a spoon would still be a spoon and a table would still be a table.  The design operates on the product to give it its own particular appearance.

For example: a design right in respect of a design applied to a fork would prevent others from making forks that had the particular design applied to them. However the design right cannot be used to stop anyone else making forks other than those that have the particular (or substantially similar) design applied to them.