The changes to the Designs Act came into effect 10 March 2022 and include:

  • the introduction of a grace period
  • the simplification of the design registration process
  • updated formal requirements.

These changes will provide more flexibility during the early stages of seeking design protection.

How do you these changes help you?


The introduction of the grace period means that designers can make their design public up to 12 months before applying for a design right without losing the ability to obtain intellectual property (IP) protection.

The grace period protects those who accidentally publish details of their design, or who were unaware they needed to file for protection before disclosure.

It is important to note that the grace period only applies to applications filed on or after this date, and only to disclosures that occur/ed on or after this date.

The refreshed design registration process means that designs filed on or after 10 March 2022 will automatically proceed to a formalities check 6 months after the priority date of the application.

This will simplify the registration process by removing the need to make a request for registration. If you want to register your design earlier than that 6 month date, you can file a request to do so.

The formal requirements process for design applications has also been streamlined. The Registrar of Designs now has the power to specify formal requirements for design applications by written determination.

This means that the relevant rules in the formal requirement process can be easily adapted and keep up to date with changing technology.

These improvements are part of IP Australia’s ongoing program of design reforms. The initiatives aim to ensure the design system is fit for purpose and supports the Australian economy now and in the future.

Find out more about the changes to the Designs Act.

Register for the two-part Designs 101 webinar.