Design Registration – What You Need To Know
If you want to protect the appearance of something, such as a 3D object or a 2D design (patterns, or ‘surface decoration’ can be protected) then a design registration is probably right for you.
A registered design protects the overall appearance of a product. In particular, a registered design can protect the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials of a product. For a design registration to be valid the design must be new and have individual character.
In general a design registration should not be used to try to protect functionality. Instead a patent application should be considered.
Also, in general a design registration should not be used to try to protect a badge of origin for goods or services. Instead a trademark registration should be considered.
A valid design registration may be obtained in the UK if the application is filed within the 12 month grace period from first publication of the design. However, some countries require absolute novelty of a design in order for a registration to be valid. Thus if you might desire design registrations outside of the UK and the EU it might be important to file an application before any non-confidential disclosure of the design.
Registered designs are territorial rights. For example, a UK registered design covers only the UK, and a Community design covers only the EU. A design registration can provide the owner with the exclusive right to making, offering, putting on the market, importing, exporting or using of a product in which the same or a similar design is incorporated.
UK and Community design registration is relatively inexpensive and normally quite fast, as the application is not examined to check whether the design is new and has individual character.
Certain free unregistered IP rights in designs arise automatically, but these are weaker rights than registered designs as they rely on the original design having been copied, and do not last for as long.
We are able to assist you with applying for and enforcing design registrations.
Please contact us for a free consultation or to find out more about design registrations.