Australian designs, Victorian designs, British designs, American designs
Australian design registration became a Commonwealth responsibility on 1st July 1907, and was based on the 'Designs Act 1906' (Commonwealth), and the subsequent 'Designs Act 2003' (Commonwealth). Prior to this, design registration was the responsibility of each of the States.
Under the 1906 act, the maximum term of protection was 16 years, but under the 2003 act, the maximum term is 10 years.
From 1907 to 31st March 1982, designs were registered under a system of 14 Classes, (see below)
From 1st April 1982, the Locarno International Classification for Industrial Designs, with 32 Classes, was adopted in Australia, (see below)
From 1st January 1907 to 31st March 1982, design application numbers, and design registration numbers (for accepted designs) were the same. From 1st April 1982, accepted designs were issued with a separate registration number.
The State Library does not hold designs registered after 2002. The latest edition of the Locarno Classification can be found on the World Intellectual Property Organization website.
If the design you require dates from 1973 onwards, you can search the Australian Designs Search database. If it is an earlier design and you do not know the design number or the class number, see the Australian design indexes page on this guide.
Available on the IP Australia' website. The Australian Designs Search database includes all applications and registrations from 1986 onwards and all registrations from 1973 to 1985 that were still active in 1985. if a design dating from 1973 to 1985 was not active in 1985, it is not included on the database, so consult the print indexes on this guide and request the design from the paper collection.
Use the 'Quick Search' option to search by product name, owner or design number..You may need to search using varied product names to find the product you want. Example: flag.
'Advanced Search' gives you more search options, including design number, date and classification code. There is a link to the Designs Classification Codes.
Example: Class 16-01 is made up of:
Class 16 Photographic, cameras cinematographic and optical apparatus.
Sub-class -01 photographic cameras and film cameras.
The State Library of Victoria holds a print collection of Australian design registrations for the years 1907 to 2002. They are listed on the library catalogue under the titles given below.
For the years 1907 to 1982, they are listed on the library catalogue under the title Additional representation of design to accompany application for registration. During 1982 and up to 2002, the title changed to Australian registered design. The State Library does not hold designs registered after 2002.
The collection is arranged in class number and design number order, in broad date ranges. To order specific designs, it is essential to include the class number and the design number. .The year is not essential. Staff will order these from the offsite store for you, either at the information desk or phone 8664 7002.
To order a design from our collection:
From the catalogue record, staff will select the catalogue entry with the design class you require. A drop-down list gives the range of design numbers within that class. Staff will select the appropriate design number range and order the item for you. If there is no drop-down list, staff will type in the design number and class required and request the item from our offsite store.
Designs registered from 2003 onwards
Online copies of designs. Australian designs from 1986 onwards are searchable on the IP Australia ADDS (Australian Designs Database)
It also includes all registrations from 1973 to 1985 that were still active in 1985.
The National Archives of Australia (NAA) in Canberra holds copies of Australian design applications, together with registers and indexes, as noted in the Series listed below. You can request copies of designs from the National Archives of Australia, If you know the relevant NAA series number, quote this in your request.
Contact details are on the National Archives of Australia website.
NAA Series A1337 -
Applications for Registration of a Design (1907+) Item records include the following information: Name of applicant; subject details (eg bedsteads); Class number; date of application; application number (control symbol field in NAA record); NAA Series number.
NAA Series A13166 -
Registers of designs (1907+) This series contains certificates of registration of a design. "Certificates were issued after applications had passed a formalities check. A copy of a representation of a design is attached to each certificate. Formats of representations include photographs, diagrams, or fabric samples". (Sourced from NAA) Item records include the design number ranges within each volume, by years.
Individual design applicants
Although most of the designs held in the collections of the National Archives of Australia have not been individually indexed or digitised, some of the records do have individual records.
Go to RecordSearch on the National Archives website to find NameSearch. You can search NameSearch by family name, using the surname of the designer. Select the category Copyright, patents, trademarks, which gives you a date range option.
Not all design applicants may be found this way, but it is worth searching. You can then order a copy of the design, if it has not already been digitised.
If you are searching for an Australian design registered after 1906, it is recommended that you first use the print and online resources and indexes listed in this guide. The microfiche collection of Australian registered designs at call number MF495 was provided to the State Library of Victoria by the Patent, Trade Marks and Designs Offices (Canberra). It consists of microfilmed copies of nineteenth century colonial and twentieth century Australian designs registered up to 30th September 1998. These designs are organised under the Locarno Classification system, which commenced in 1982.
If you are looking for a Victorian design registered in the nineteenth or twentieth century before 1906, first check the Locarno classification index on this guide, as the pre-Locarno designs have been allocated Locarno class numbers. (This does not apply to the designs in print format. Their original class numbers remain).
The microfiche collection is organised by Locarno class and sub-class numbers across all the years in each sequence described below. Note that the print indexes listed on this guide give the class number and not the sub-class number.
The microfiche are held in drawers in two major date sequences, Here are the sequences:
Despite the 1906 date given in the title, these designs include nineteenth century Victorian design registrations from the 1860s to the early twentieth century up to 1906, when the Australian Designs Act became law. Other states (or colonies as they were before Federation) are included. The microfiche collection is arranged in drawers by Locarno class number and sub-class, not by year.
When you view the microfiche records, you will see that they are organised by class number followed by design number order (it's not necessary to know the sub-class number) and cover a range of different years.
The designs in this sequence were registered between the dates given. Organised in drawers by Locarno class and sub-class number.
Within the fiche collection, the designs are organised by class number and design number.
You can click on Ask a librarian on our web page to complete the online inquiry form to request the class number and preferably the sub-class number and the year you require. You can also make this request at an information desk. You cannot request the microfiche with your Library barcode number: a librarian can do this with a staff login.
Requesting a design from the MF495 collection
The MF495 catalogue record shows two major sequences:
Class 01-01 to 99.00 Covers 1906 to 6 March 1984.
Updates (for years) 7.3.84 to 30.9.95 and 1.10.95 to 30.9.98 . Staff will select the appropriate sequence and type in the class numbers you require, and sub-class if you have this information.
These microfiche will be delivered to the Heritage Collections Reading Room, to be consulted there.
Alternatively, if you know the class number and the subject of the Victorian or state design, it may be possible for a librarian to search the microfiche, if it is not possible to find the design in other sources. Complete the Ask a librarian form in this case.
Designs that are 2-dimensional (2D) also have copyright protection under Australian copyright legislation. Examples of 2D designs are patterns or images applied to the surface of articles, such as T-shirts.
Copyright protection for 2D designs is afforded under the 'Copyright Act 1968' (Cth) and the 'Designs (Consequential Amendments) Act 2003' (Cth).
IP Australia provides advice on registering Australian designs in other countries, either as a new application in each country (National Application) or as a new application in each country within six months of an Australian application (Convention Application).
Lawn mower design. Class 1 metal.
Australian design number 21467
Application date: 17 Dec. 1943
Applicant: George Watts, Newcastle, NSW.
Design for metal floor tiles by William Stubbs, Elwood, Victoria.
Class 1, metal. Australian design number: 21510.
Date of application: 2 March 1944.
In line with the stage 3 restrictions announced by the Premier, State Library Victoria closed on Thursday 9 July.
We will advise when there is any update to this situation.
Our Ask A Librarian reference service is still available to assist with your research inquiries.