5.1.11. Applicant name: Trust/trustee

Date Published

Under a trust, a person gives another person or entity the right to hold property or rights on their behalf and for their benefit or for the advancement of certain purposes (e.g. a charity).

Because a trust is a relationship, not a person, it is not possible for it to be an applicant for or a registered owner of a design. However, if a trust has been incorporated it may be entered on the register as the owner.

Under s 117 of the Designs Act, the Registrar cannot receive notice of a trust. This means the Registrar cannot recognise or record details of the trust.

Section 117 limitations do not apply to address details. Trusts are objected to in applicant names because this may impact the legal rights to the design (i.e. ownership of it) and the validity of the registration. But where an address for legal service is that of a trustee, this does not have a bearing on who has design rights.

A notice of a trust (express, implied or constructive) that is not a body corporate cannot be entered into the Register (s 117):​​​​​​​

  • Express: clearly indicated as a notice of trust
  • Implied: indicated or suggested to be a notice of trust
  • Constructive: relating to a notice of trust, or having some legal effect.​​​​​​​

If the applicant name appears to be the name of a trust (e.g. 'Doe Family Trust'; ‘Trustees for the Doe Family Trust’; 'Jane Doe, trustee for Doe Family Trust'), this should be queried. The applicant may need to replace the name of the trust with the name of someone who is entitled to be the registered owner of the design (e.g. 'Doe Family Trust Pty Ltd'; 'Jane Doe').

Amended Reasons

Amended Reason Date Amended
Back to top