Our previous blogs have looked at the assessment of multiple embodiments that are typically identified by portions of solid lines and dashed lines (or broken lines).  For jurisdictions like the United States of America and Japan, the portions shown in dashed lines can be disclaimed from the monopoly which enables the scope of the registrations to be easily varied.

Dashed lines are allowed in Australia, but cannot be disclaimed.  The previous blogs have looked at how this can impact on the way design applications can be prepared in Australia, including title selection and Australia’s unique practice with respect to protecting functional designs.

This blog looks at consolidating the number of design registrations required when the drawings show multiple embodiments and discusses how a single registration can include:

  • different environmental features,
  • a common design applied to different products, and
  • products having indefinite dimensions.

Reference views; how they can impact on the number of design registrations required?

The visual features of a design can be enhanced by illustrating the product in the environment in which it is used.  This provides a context for the design which can assist in identifying more prominent features and the orientation of the design in its environment, without the environmental features limiting the scope of protection.

So rather than disclaiming features, which is not possible in Australia, one approach is select an appropriate title and represent the environmental features differently to the visual features of the product.  When the environmental features are not physically attached to the product this can be straightforward.  The reference views below are of a LOCKING SYSTEM HOUSING having environmental features in the form of either a knob or a handle that are attached to the product.  The environment features exemplify possible uses of the circular features in the centre of the HOUSING in Figure 1.


Reference views can be used to illustrate environmental features that may have been disclaimed in other jurisdictions.  Moreover, the number of registrations required can be consolidated without impacting on the scope of protection.

How can common designs be protected?

It is possible to obtain protection for the same design in relation to more than one product (section 22(1)(b) of the Designs Act) in a single registration rather than obtaining separate registrations for each product.  This can provide considerable cost savings.  The examples below illustrate that the same design can relate to 2 dimensional features and/or 3 dimensional features.




In the last example, the physical differences between the blank and a box made from the blank necessitates that different features of the designs, although embodied in each product, are showcased differently in each product.  

The product may have any length or have a repeating pattern

The number of registrations required can also be consolidated if the difference between products varies according to a dimension or has a repeating pattern.

The definition of a product includes products having one or more indefinite dimensions provided either: i) the product has a constant cross-section in the dimension that could be varied; or ii) the product has a pattern or ornamentation that can be repeated (section 6(3) of the Designs Act).

The examples below illustrate how a registration can be broadened to cover a number of embodiments of different lengths.




At BOSH IP we optimise the number of design applications required, with a view to the best practice in Australia and the commercial relevance of the design.  With this blend of considerations, we drive your IP from a commercial perspective.

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