Design Protection

How to Avoid Common Mistakes in Design Registration

Max Steinhausen

When it comes to intellectual property (IP) protection, industrial design is a vital component that often gets overlooked. Industrial design refers to the ornamental or aesthetic aspects of a product, such as its shape, color, or texture. Protecting these elements can be crucial for businesses, as it helps prevent competitors from copying or imitating your unique designs. However, many businesses make common mistakes when it comes to industrial design protection. In this article, we'll explore these pitfalls and how to avoid them.

  1. Neglecting Industrial Design Rights

One of the most common mistakes businesses make is neglecting to consider industrial design protection. While they may focus on patenting their inventions, they often forget that the design of a product can be just as valuable. When a product's appearance is a significant part of its appeal, failing to protect it can leave your business vulnerable to copycats. To avoid this mistake, consult with an IP advisor to determine whether your product's design is eligible for protection.

  1. Failing to Register Your Industrial Design

In many countries, industrial design protection requires registration. Failing to register your design can have serious consequences. Without registration, you won't have the legal grounds to prevent others from using or imitating your design. It's essential to understand the registration process, including the criteria for eligibility and the documentation required. An experienced IP advisor can guide you through this process, ensuring your design is properly protected.

  1. Not Conducting a Thorough Search

Before investing time and resources in your industrial design registration, it's vital to conduct a thorough search to ensure that your design is unique and not already in use by others. Neglecting this step can lead to disputes, legal challenges, and the potential invalidation of your design protection. Your IP advisor can help you perform a comprehensive search to mitigate this risk.

  1. Ignoring International Protection

In our globalized world, it's important to consider international protection for your industrial design. Many businesses make the mistake of assuming that a domestic registration is sufficient. If your product is distributed or sold internationally, it's essential to explore options for protection in multiple countries to safeguard your design from infringement worldwide.

  1. Insufficient Documentation

Documentation is key to industrial design protection. Keeping detailed records of the design process, iterations, and the creation date is crucial. Many businesses fail to maintain these records, which can weaken their ability to prove the originality of their design in case of a dispute. Working with an IP advisor can help ensure you have the necessary documentation in place.

  1. Misunderstanding the Scope of Protection

Another common mistake is misunderstanding the scope of protection that industrial design rights offer. While design protection prevents others from using your design without permission, it doesn't necessarily protect the underlying function or utility of the product. Patents are typically used to protect the functional aspects of an invention. Your IP advisor can help you differentiate between the two types of protection and guide you on which is most appropriate for your needs.


Industrial design protection is a critical aspect of intellectual property that businesses should not overlook. By avoiding common mistakes such as neglecting design rights, failing to register, conducting thorough searches, ignoring international protection, maintaining insufficient documentation, or misunderstanding the scope of protection, you can better safeguard your unique designs and gain a competitive advantage in the market. Consult with an experienced IP advisor to navigate the complexities of industrial design protection and ensure your business's creativity and innovation are well-protected.

Partners & IP Offices

We work with partners and IP Offices around the globe.

IP Australia  s

I've been working with Max and the team for a number of years now. They have helped me with multiple trade marks, objections/challenges and advice around the technicalities of the law. I would highly recommend talking to them if you're looking for great customer service, advice and results!

Mathew Stillone
Founder/Managing Director, Integrity Food Co.

Thank you to Max and the whole team! Your work is always of a high standard, professional and timely. I highly recommend Max and the team to any organisation needing IP support!

Anthea Thomas
Director, Hypnobirthing Australia

Excellent service, great result. We initially had issues with our trademark and called them to lodge a declaration to support the mark. Our mark was finally accepted and we believe this was only due to the thorough and detailed documents that were submitted to the trademark office. Great work!

Jason Morrisby
Founder/ Director, Mask Co.

Need help?

We work with businesses across Australia and from around the world. If you wish to meet with us in person, please contact our office.

Get In Touch

I'm interested in
Countries of Interest
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.