It is relatively common to file multiple design applications in Europe as long as each design is in the same Locarno class. One of the main advantages is the cost saving as opposed to filing separate applications for each design.
Australia also offers the option of registering multiple designs via a single application whereas in New Zealand multiple design applications are not permitted and it is necessary to register each design via a separate application.
However, until recently, there was no difference in the official fee in Australia for filing a multiple design application or filing separate applications for each design. In 2020, IPAustralia modestly reduced the official fees for multiple design applications. The fee for filing a single application with multiple designs is AU$250 for the first design, and AU$200 for each separate, subsequent design.
However, for all other purposes, each design is treated separately. Each design is allocated a separate Design Number and for the purposes of examination, each design is examined separately. If Examination is requested, which in Australia is an optional step but which is obligatory before commencing infringement action, the same official examination fee is payable for each design. Likewise for renewals, the same official renewal fee is payable for each design.
There are requirements to register multiple designs via a single application in Australia. These include:
A single application for multiple designs can be filed for more than one design applied to one product.
For example, more than one design applied on a pillowcase can be filed in a single application. In the application, the design owner must provide a single product name (“a pillowcase”) and each design must be clearly indicated on separate pages.
A single application for multiple designs can be filed for designs applied to more than one product. However, all of the products must belong to the same Locarno class, and the product names in the application must match the representations.
For example, a single application for multiple designs applied to earrings, necklaces, sculptures and mosaics can be filed as each product falls under separate subclasses in Locarno class 11 (Articles of adornment).
Other than the modest cost saving in official fees for multiple design applications there is no other benefit to a filing multiple design application in Australia. On the contrary, the additional formal requirements, if not satisfied, may result in a formality objection and higher costs.
However, if there are a large number of designs then the cost savings for filing multiple a design application can become more significant.