Copyright & designs

Copyright and design rights can be used to protect the particular expression of an idea or concept. In most countries, including New Zealand and Australia, copyright is not registrable whereas design rights are.


In New Zealand and Australia, copyright may exist in ‘works’, such as drawings, manuscripts, performances, recordings and computer software. Copyright is a complex area and we can provide a range of advice on related matters including:

  • Copyright commercialisation
  • Copyright ownership
  • Copyright enforcement

For any business, copyright is usually a key intellectual property right. More information about copyright, along with Baldwins’ skills and expertise in this area, can be found on our copyright page.

Registered designs

Design protection and registered design rights are sometimes confused with copyright. A registered design is a monopoly for a design (for example a tread pattern) when applied to an article (for example a tyre) and protects the way a product looks. In New Zealand and Australia rights given by registered designs can exist in parallel with copyright.

  • Baldwins provides a range of services relating to registered designs rights including:
  • Searching for new and existing design rights
  • Filing and examination of registered designs
  • Design portfolio management
  • Revocation of registered designs
  • Infringement and enforcement of registered design rights
  • Licensing arrangements and transfer agreements

An important distinction between registered designs and copyright is that a design registration can be infringed without actual copying occurring.  With copyright law however, the copyright owner is required to show it is at least likely that a copyright work has been copied.

Baldwins has a depth of experience in the law relating to copyright and to registered designs. We have teams that specialise in these areas and advise clients on how best to create and exploit these rights, and use them to add value to their business.

Meet our experts

  • Wes Jones
    Partner, Auckland

  • +64 9 359 7747
  • +64 21 666 703
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  • Chris Way
    Partner, Auckland

  • +64 9 966 9761
  • +64 21 987 893
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  • Paul Johns
    Head of Dispute Resolution, Auckland

  • +64 9 359 7733
  • +64 27 558 5866
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