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Hi Leighe2007

As Steve mentioned above, you just can’t guarantee or be certain unfortunately. A few tips as food for thought:

  • Even if you’re doing this at markets/for pocket money you will probably (according to ATO regulations) need an ABN and to register a business name for your business;
  • Have a contract in place with your supplier in China – that contract SHOULD include clauses that warrant or indemnify you in the event the design infringes the rights of someone else (the contract should have them confirm the designs are available and free of infringement but if not and you get a letter of demand, they’ll cover costs or similar associated with that)
  • Conduct searches to the best that you can of the Designs and Trade Marks registers in Australia (both available via ipaustralia.gov.au)

It is a tricky one – some designers/brands will register designs for the ‘look’ of their fabric or pieces, others won’t. Those that don’t may still have common law rights to the ‘design’ – e.g. if a particular print/look is well known as belonging to them then the use by others could be viewed ‘passing off’ or misleading/deceptive conduct that would allow them rights even if they don’t have registered designs or other IP registrations.

Hope the above assists and wish you all the best with it :)