A registered design protects the appearance of a product, part of a product, pattern or ornamentation applied to a product. The owner of a registered design is provided with an exclusive right to make, import, and deal in product of the design and stop third parties from doing these activities.
For a design to be registrable it must be materially different from any other published earlier design for the same article. If you have already published your design an application may still be valid in the UK & EU if filed within 12 months of publication.
Registered design protection covering the UK may be obtained either via a UK Registered design application or a Community Design application (which covers all EU states). Similar protection can be obtained in most industrialised countries. UK & Community registered designs last for a period of up to 25 years, with renewal fees due every 5 years. Our attorneys can advise on the appropriate format of a design registration application including the contours, images, shading, and particular features of a design, and protection of other jurisdictions, nationally or through the collective Hague System.
We also assist in relation with post grant issues, acquisitions, commercialisation and licensing, infringement and revocation.
Unregistered Design Right
In the UK an automatic right exists for designs providing protection for a period of 10 years from the date the design was made available to the public. Unregistered Design Right protects the shape or configuration of articles, it is not an exclusive right but rather a right to prevent copying by others. The design must be original and is must not be common place at the time of its creation. An equivalent automatic EU right also exists for a limit of 3 years from the end of the year in which the design was created. As the protection afforded to an unregistered design differs from that of a
registered design it can co-exist, adding to the portfolio of rights.
Our team understand the vital importance of obtaining and maintaining a broad Intellectual Property portfolio which fits with the long-term business strategy and are happy to advice on how unregistered rights such as UDR, copyright and trade secrets can form part of this portfolio.