Can I still protect my design after publicising it?
Australia is going to introduce a grace period for filing design applications. This will mean that your design will still be regarded as "new" by the Designs Office in Australia if you file a design application within 12 months of your first public disclosure of the design. The UK, EU, Japan and the US all have 12 month grace periods for filing design applications. However, that grace period does not apply in China.
China is the country where any design is most likely to be copied and distributed around the world. This is not necessarily because Chinese nationals are copying certain designs, but because they are ordered to manufacture products from copycats in other countries. China has some of the cheapest and most advanced manufacturing facilities in the world, so it is a natural choice for people manufacturing many types of goods.
China only provides a 6-month grace period for patents and designs disclosed at: (1) international exhibitions sponsored or recognised by the Chinese government, (2) disclosed at certain academic conferences, or (3) disclosed by another person without the consent of the applicant.
In other words, if you publicise your design in Australia before the filing date of your Australian design application then you will not be able to stop your invention from being copied in China.
In order to protect your design in China, you will need to file a design application in China within 6 months from your Australian design application.
So the safest way to protect your design is still to apply to register it in Australia before publicly disclosing it.
For more information about protecting your designs, please call us for a free consultation on 0402519010.