Search for existing designs

Search for existing designs

This is a guide to the use of the Search Designs Cases in our case management tool. For legal advice concerning registration of designs we recommend that you contact a patent attorney or lawyer familiar with intellectual property law.

Search design cases

The Search Design Cases screen is used throughout our case management facility to:

  • perform general searches for designs that are registered or have been registered in New Zealand, using any of the queries that you enter into the search page,
  • search for a case you have an interest in, if you want to conduct business with us concerning a design application or registration. Once you have selected from the menu what it is you want to do, you'll be presented with a Search Design Cases screen to search for and identify the designs of interest.

Search results

If the search finds:

  • only one case, the screen for that case relevant to the context of the search will be displayed,
  • more than one case, a list of search results will be displayed beneath the search query. Select the underlined case number to display the details of a case.
Is your design already registered?

Before you start a new application, you should check that a similar design has not already been registered.

Using the search screen

Searching by case number

If you know the case numbers of the cases you are looking for, you can enter these in the Case Numbers field. Separate multiple case numbers using commas - 123456, 123457, 123458.

Searching by title

The Design Title field allows you to search by case title. The Title field takes a range of search operators and wildcards (see below) and is not case-sensitive.

The search engine treats all punctuation characters as a single space unless the “ “ quotation mark operators are used. It also automatically converts characters with accents (eg É) to the equivalent character without an accent.

Search operators

Search Operator Function
AND Using AND between search terms will return only cases that contain both terms.
The search engine evaluates AND before OR.
OR (or spaces) Using OR between terms will return cases that contain either term.
The search engine treats spaces as OR operators.
NOT Using NOT will exclude any cases that contain the specified term.
The search engine evaluates NOT before AND.
() parentheses Parentheses allow you to structure complex searches.
The search engine evaluates parentheses before all other operators.
" " quotation marks Quotation marks allow you to specify exact matches.
You may use wildcards within “ “ quotation marks.
The search engine treats all punctuation characters as a single space unless you use the “ “ quotation mark operators.


Wildcard Function
? Represents a single character only.
* Represents any number of characters (including none).

Searching by owner/agent details

If you want to search for a person or agent, you can use the Applicant/Owner Name, Case Contact Name, Agent/Local Representative Name, or Licensee Name fields in the Customer Search section. You can use search operators and wildcards in these fields as you would for the Title field.

If you know a person or agent’s client ID, you can use the Applicant/Owner ID, Case Contact ID, Agent/Local Representative ID, or Licensee ID fields.

Searching by other criteria

You can search by important case dates and Convention Priority details in the Date Search section. You can also search by Case Status, whether or not a case is under proceeding or by Locarno classification in the Classification/Status search section.

Viewing search results and requesting search reports

When you have defined your search criteria, select Search and your search results will display below.

You can request a report of your search results in PDF or XLS by selecting Get Result List and entering your email address.

Customising the search screen

You can customise the appearance of the search screens, and save your preferences, if you are logged in to our case management facility. See become a registered user.

Show or hide sections on search screen

Fields on the search screen are divided into conceptually similar groups with distinct headings (eg date fields are grouped under the Date Search heading). You can show or hide these sections by selecting the headings.

Show or hide columns in search results

You can show or hide columns in your search results by selecting the Show/Hide column’s dropdown menu.

Saving your display preferences

You can save your display preferences, if you are logged in, by selecting Save Display Settings.

You can save different display preferences for different search screens (eg you might have the date search section hidden on the trade marks search screen, and visible on the patents search screen).

Request for search

If you are unable to carry out your own search, you may submit a Request for Search under Regulation 59 of the Designs Regulations 1954 via This will allow us to perform an elementary check to determine whether the drawing or picture you supply of your design is the same as or similar to any other currently registered design.

Request for search under Regulation 59  [PDF, 182 KB]

Note that filing a request for search does not replace an application for registration of your design.