Registered Design

For any business that creates unique and innovative designs, you should formally register designs that are often critical to your commercial success. This is particularly so in the fashion, consumer goods and engineering sectors.

Designs are intangible business assets and often beneficial in marketing and obtaining finance as well as protecting your business’ key commercial creations. Unregistered design rights, similar to copyright, automatically exist when you create a design but there are a number of advantages to registered design protection making it an attractive form of protection

There are a number of benefits to registered design protection:

  • securing a registered design enables you to protect your creative investment by preventing your competitors from infringing upon your rights
  • protects the appearance and shape of the whole or part of a product or packaging for up to 25 years
  • provides your business with a monopoly in the design, which can be enforced to prevent others from making, selling, using, importing or exporting a product or packaging that produces the same overall impression to the design in question
  • obtaining a registered design, compared with unregistered rights, will create a public record making it easier to prove your business has design rights which can deter others from working on similar designs
  • comparatively low-cost form of protection and often far quicker to obtain than patents covering inventions

Registered designs can protect a wide variety of products, such as industrial items as well as artistic creations. For example, registered designs are increasingly being used successfully in the fashion world to protect new garments.

Protection can be provided for the design itself irrespective of the product to which it is applied, including features such as lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials of the product or its ornamentation.

The appearance and shape of a product is protectable provided it is new and produces a different overall impression to existing products.

Registered design protection does not protect the functionality or solely functional features of the product, which instead can be protected by a patent. It also does not protect features that allow the product to be mechanically connected to, or placed in, around or against another product so that either product may perform its function.

It is advisable to register your design whilst your product is confidential. However, there is a grace period of twelve months from the first disclosure of the design by the designer during which an application for a registered design can be validly filed in the EU. However, you should be aware that relying on this grace period could prevent your business protecting its design in many countries that require a design not to have been published.


How can we help you

Registered design protection is often overlooked, but its benefits over unregistered design rights make it a commercially attractive form of protection.

We will help you:

  • compliment your trademarks by protecting your distinctive product shapes and designs
  • prepare appropriate design drawings showing all aspects of the finalised product and/or packaging
  • ensure that you own the rights to a design if it has been created by others
  • register your design to maximise your scope of protection in the country you require
  • defend your registered design rights against copiers and infringers

If you would like further advice about design protection, or if you simply want to talk to us about the benefits of design registration, contact us for a free initial chat.

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For more information, or for an informal chat about your legal requirements, contact us now for a confidential no obligation discussion.

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