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Fashion designers are constantly striving to come up with fresh & innovative products; however, they aren’t always immune to copying each other’s ideas. Therefore, the industry’s prominent representatives often find themselves asking the question: What can be done about it?  Fortunately, Australia has some of the best IP protection laws that help designers protect Australian clothing designs from copying. 

So, let’s have a closer look at how protection of intellectual property in the Australian fashion industry works.

 Australia: Protecting Clothing Designs from Counterfeiting

Unfortunately, quite a few fashion designers neglect the possibility to get copyright protection for fashion designs in Australia. They only remember about it when counterfeits have already hit the shelves & when it’s too late to take any legal action. Therefore, it’s absolutely vital for them to come up with an IP strategy well in advance & ensure that their clothes aren’t counterfeited.

Australia: Industrial Design Registration

If designers want to protect their clothes from copying, they should take care of registering international industrial design in Australia. It applies to:

  • lines;
  • patterns;
  • shapes;
  • decorations.

Registering an industrial design in Australia requires it to be new & different from all existing designs. A corresponding request must also be filed with a court. What this means is that samples of industrial designs must be submitted for registration before the design is advertised or hits the shelves. After being registered, an industrial design can be protected for up to 10 years against being copied by 3rd parties.

Applying for registration of an industrial design in Australia also enables designers to extend the protection period (up to six months) in several other countries. Registration is relatively straightforward & can be a useful deterrent against copying clothing by 3rd parties; it can also be used to protect other fashion items, such as jewelry, shoes & bags.

Protecting IP in Australia

TM registration in Australia can be used to protect TMs and logos associated with a particular brand. Being a form of trademark, clothing can also protect the appearance of products used to designate a brand.

Copyright may also provide fashion designers with some limited protection. In particular, it can be used to protect clothing that may be regarded as a work of art. However, this protection is very limited and shouldn’t be used to protect clothing or mass-produced accessories.


If you are a clothing designer looking to protect your brand from unauthorized copying, it would be commercially viable for you to spend some time preparing for IP registration in Australia. IQ Decision UK can give you a hand with any legal aspect of this process. Our dedicated professionals are sufficiently qualified to help you with developing a suitable strategy & assist you in applying it for the protection of IP rights in Australia.