Intellectual property in Technology teaching: Brief definitions: Registered designs
The external appearance of some products can be protected by registering 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.
The kind of protection is similar to a patent. It does not have to be proved that the design was copied, only that the same design has been used commercially without your permission.
Many New Zealand manufacturers rely upon the protection for industrial designs 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 – someone planning to export their articles should apply for registered design protection in each country.
Case in point – A remarkable toilet. Registered designs have been obtained in New Zealand for a lavatory unit, comprising a seat head and back flap connected by a moulded hinge, computer screen icons, and light fittings.
Developed for the Technology Online site from a study by Susan Corbett, Louise Starkey and Ann Bondy, Victoria University of Wellington