Designs Act 1953

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Reprint as at 1 July 2013

Designs Act 1953

Public Act1953 No 65
Date of assent26 November 1953
Commencementsee section 1(2)


Changes authorised by section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989 have been made in this reprint.

A general outline of these changes is set out in the notes at the end of this reprint, together with other explanatory material about this reprint.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment.



1 Short Title and commencement

2 Interpretation

3 Commissioner of Designs

4 Assistant Commissioners of Designs and other officers

Registrable designs and proceedings for registration

5 Designs registrable under Act

6 Proprietorship of designs

7 Proceedings for registration

8 Registration of same design in respect of other articles, etc

9 Provisions for ensuring secrecy in respect of designs relevant for defence purposes

10 Provisions as to confidential disclosure, etc

Effect of registration, etc

11 Right given by registration

12 Period of copyright

13 Exemption of innocent infringer from liability for damages, etc

14 Compulsory licence in respect of registered design

15 Cancellation of registration

Use of registered designs for services of the Crown

16 Use of registered designs for services of the Crown

17 Rights of third parties in respect of Crown use

18 Reference of disputes as to Crown use

19 Special provisions as to Crown use during emergency

International arrangements

20 Orders in Council as to convention countries

21 Registration of design where application for protection in convention country has been made

22 Extension of time for applications under section 21 in certain cases

23 Protection of designs communicated under arrangements with other countries

24 Regulations under section 22 or section 23

Register of designs, etc

25 Register of designs

26 Certificate of registration

27 Registration of assignments, etc

27A Application of Personal Property Securities Act 1999

28 Rectification of register by the court

29 Power of Commissioner to correct errors

30 Inspection of registered designs

31 Information as to existence of copyright

32 Evidence of entries, documents, etc

Legal proceedings and appeals

33 Certificate of contested validity of registration

34 Remedy for groundless threats of infringement proceedings

35 Appeal to High Court

Powers and duties of Commissioner

36 Exercise of discretionary powers of Commissioner

37 Commissioner may grant extension of time

37A Additional provisions for extending time limits

38 Costs and security for costs

39 Evidence before Commissioner

40 Recognition of agents

41 Commissioner may dispense with production of probate or letters of administration in certain cases

Restoration of lapsed copyright in registered design

41A Restoration of lapsed copyright in registered design

41B Persons who may make request for restoration of copyright

41C When request for restoration of copyright may be made

41D Commissioner’s consideration of whether prima facie case has been made out for restoration

41E Notice of opposition and reasonable opportunity to be heard

41F Order to be made on payment of unpaid fees

Restoration of design applications

41G Request for restoration of abandoned design application

41H When request for restoration of application may be made

41I Notice of opposition

41J Commissioner to determine matter


42 Offences in respect of designs required to be kept secret

43 Falsification of register, etc

44 Fine for falsely representing a design as registered


45 Hours of business

45A Closing of Patent Office at short notice

46 Regulations

47 Fees

48 Service of notices, etc, by post

49 Annual report

50 Application of Act to Tokelau

51 Saving

52 Repeals and savings

Enactments repealed

Reprint notes

An Act to consolidate and amend certain enactments relating to designs