There are a number of different forms of design right protection in the United Kingdom. We provide advice to our clients on the scope of third party design rights and whether products created by you are entitled to such design right protection and which forms.
Registered design protection is available for the outward appearance or ornamentation of the whole or a part of a product. This includes complex products (which are made of multiple parts), packaging, get up, graphic symbols or icons. Registered design protection is available for “new” products which have “individual character”. Registered designs are a low cost and effective form or protection for products. Registered designs can last for up to 25 years, subject to them being renewed, and give the owner exclusive rights to prevent others making substantially similar products.
Design Right, or unregistered designs, fall into one of two categories – UK or Community. UK Design Right subsists automatically when an “original” design is created, provided that the design is recorded on paper or an article is made according to the design. UK Design Right protects the three-dimensional shape of a product and lasts for 15 years.
Community Design Rights differs from the UK Design Right in that it subsists automatically in novel designs that have individual character for the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of the product itself and/or its ornamentation. Community Design Right lasts for a period of 3 years from the date on which the design was first made available to the public within the European Community.