Commissioned designs

Under the New Zealand Designs Act, where a design is created by an author for another person, and that person (‘the commissioner’) pays for it, the default rule is that the commissioner will own any design rights arising out of the commission and is entitled to apply for registered design protection.

This is known as the commissioning rule for designs and applies subject to any agreement between the parties to the contrary.

Despite this rule, you should be aware of issues that may arise where a third party designer is commissioned to prepare drawings, models and prototypes etc.

For more information read our information sheet: “Design registration – the dangers of commissioning designers”.

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