6.12. Representations: Environmental or Reference views

Date Published

The applicant may choose to include an ‘environmental’ view or ‘reference’ view as part of the representations. However, such representations should not cause uncertainty about the design.  See 7(13), Designs (Formal Requirements for Designs Documents) Instrument 2022. 

Environmental views include additional subject matter for the clear purpose of showing the product in the context of its surroundings or environment.

They may:

  • show the product in the environment it is intended to be used
  • indicate what the product will look like in reality, as part of providing further context to what the drawings show.

Reference views typically show the design ‘in use’ to assist in recognizing and understanding the design and provide a better understanding as to the purpose of the product or its place of use.

The inclusion of an environmental or reference view should provide a clearer understanding of what the visual features of the design are, and the nature of the product to which the design is applied. They should not cause uncertainty about the design that has been applied for. A person viewing the representations in their final form should be able to readily make an assessment about what exactly is the design.

Environmental or reference matter is commonly shown in photographs or with the use of dotted lines.

How we use environmental and reference views

Environmental or reference views are included for illustrative purposes only and do not form part of the design being applied for. We do not consider them to be part of the application – they are supplementary information.

We cannot take the statement of newness and distinctiveness into account in determining whether an environmental or reference view is acceptable. We can take the product name into account.

Criteria for acceptable environmental and reference views​​​​​​​

Clear scope of the design

For an environmental or reference view to be acceptable, there must be clarity about what constitutes the design. It must be clear:

  • what the visual features of the design are
  • which features are included for environmental/reference context
  • what the product to which the design has been applied is.

Whilst not forming part of the design, an environmental or reference view should show consistency with the design that has been applied for. Both the inclusion of the environmental or reference view, and what the environmental or reference view shows, should be clear.

​​​​​​​Overall, it must be clear what the subject design is for the design application.

One environmental or reference view only

An application should only include one environmental or reference view. Multiple environmental or reference views are likely to cast doubt on which visual features are for context only.  This may result in further designs being  identified in the application and we will issue a formalities notice. Where more than one environmental or reference view is included, the Registrar may require removal of some or more of these where their inclusion results in uncertainty about the design that has been applied for.

At least one standard representation

In order for there to be certainty about the design for which the applicant has applied, an application that includes an environmental or reference view must also contain at least one complete view of the fully assembled design isolated from any enviornmental or reference inclusions.


Clear labelling

An environmental or reference view must be clearly and appropriately labelled in a way that identifies its purpose. If it is not clearly labelled, resulting in ambiguity as to its purpose and the scope of the design, we will generally interpret it as showing further designs or being otherwise unclear. Unclear labelling may also result in incorrect classification, based on a misunderstanding of the scope of the design. It may also result in a person misinterpreting the representations displayed on the Register.

If a representation is labelled as an environmental view or reference view, it must actually be a view showing the design in its environmental or referential context.

The following examples are acceptably labelled environmental views included as part of representations.

(Design 201817145)

Product name: Lateral C-Arm Drape



Product name: Bottle hat decoration


Amended Reasons

Amended Reason Date Amended

Minor change only - product name changed to Bottle hat decoration and corrected the representation order.

Minor changes for clarification.

Formal Requirements Instrument

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