A registered design protects the appearance of a product – what you see when you look at it, i.e. shape, configuration, pattern or ornament. The features on the finished article must appeal to, and be judged solely by, the eye. It is not a substitute for a patent, since it cannot be used to protect principles of construction or wholly functional inventions that do not appeal to the eye in any way.
To be registrable, a design must not have been publicised in any way, or sold, or be similar to a design which is already known in New Zealand.
Ideally, you should keep your design completely secret until you have filed an application for registration. However, if this is not feasible, for example you need to get estimates for the cost of materials or for making dies, you can protect yourself by making a confidential disclosure of the design. To do this, ask the person or company to whom you are disclosing the design to sign a Non-disclosure/Secrecy Agreement.
A New Zealand registered design lasts for 15 years from the date of filing the application, subject to the payment of renewal fees on the 5th and 10th anniversaries.
The scope of design protection varies from country to country. However, that the design has not been published or used before the application is filed is a standard requirement.
For most countries, you may file a design application within 6 months of your first application.