Patent, trademark and design records in Brisbane – Fact sheet 245

Until Federation in 1901 the registration of patents, trademarks and designs in Queensland was the responsibility of the Queensland Patents Office. As legislation of the new Commonwealth government came into force (the Patents Act 1903, commenced 1 June 1904; the Trademarks Act 1905, commenced 2 July 1906 and the Designs Act 1906 which commenced on 1 January 1907) each of these functions became a Commonwealth responsibility and the registration records were transferred to the Commonwealth government.

Patents, trademarks and designs

Patents, trademarks and designs are all forms of intellectual property, and are usually defined as follows:

Patent – A patent is an exclusive right to exploit an invention commercially, which is granted for a limited term in return for public disclosure of the invention.

Trademark – A trademark is a sign used commercially to distinguish goods and/or services of one trader from those of another. It can be a word, phrase, picture, logo, letter, shape, colour, sound, scent or aspect of packaging.

Design – Design refers to the features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation, which can be judged by the eye in finished products. Design registration protects the visual appearance of manufactured products.

Record holdings

The National Archives office in Brisbane holds a range of records dating from 1860 relating to the registration of patents, trademarks and designs. These include registers, indexes and classification schemes that can be used to identify registrations of interest, as well as the records that comprise the registration, which include applications, technical drawings and art works.

Patents, trademarks and designs records held in Brisbane


Collection references


 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesRegister of designs (with index)1884–1906BP5/9
SeriesClassified representations of designs – classes 1 to 14 – Designs Act 1906–341907–59BP320/3

Other records of interest

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesRegister of approved labels of breweries, hotels and cigarette, cigar and tobacco manufacturers1920–43BP322/1

IP Australia

Further information about Australian registrations of intellectual property (patents, trademarks, designs and plant breeder’s rights) is available from IP Australia, the Australian Government agency responsible for maintaining intellectual property registers. This includes information about registrations that postdates records held by the National Archives. Databases containing details of approved registrations may be consulted on the IP Australia website or in IP Australia offices in Canberra and all state capital cities. The databases of the United States Patent and Trade Mark Office and the European Patent Office may also be accessed at these locations.

The IP Australia office in Brisbane is located at: Level 15, Brisbane Club Tower, 241 Adelaide Street, Brisbane Qld 4000 (tel: 1300 65 1010).

Other intellectual property records held by the National Archives

The National Archives also holds records of copyright registrations, which include applications and some exhibits for literary, dramatic, musical and artistic copyright registrations in Queensland before 1907.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019