Registered Designs

The external appearance of some products can be protected by applying to register a design right at IPONZ.
A design right protects a new or original shape, pattern, or decorative finish that has been applied to the product by an industrial process. The registered design will be granted for five years, but it can be renewed regularly up to a maximum term of 15 years, after which the registration expires. This kind of protection is similar to a patent. It does not have to be proved the design was copied, only that the same design has been used commercially without permission. Although most registered designs will also be copyright (which is free and arises automatically), registered design protection is stronger.
Many New Zealand manufacturers rely upon the protection for industrial designs which is available under the Copyright Act (see below) and do not apply for registered design protection. However overseas copyright laws do not generally protect industrial designs – if you plan to export your articles you should apply for registered design protection in each country.

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