When it comes to protecting your rights in product design we can guide you through the most cost effective and legally robust way to do so.
What is a registered design?Registered designs protect the visual appearance of the whole or part of a product, including its shape, decoration, colours or contours.
To obtain a valid registration, the design has to be “novel” and have “individual character” (i.e. it has to be new/not already been disclosed to the public, and creates a different overall impression from other earlier designs.
Why should I register my design?A registration for a design grants you, prima facie, the ability to prevent another party from trading using the same or a very similar design.
Once registered, you can mark your product as being protected via a registered design (which can act as a deterrent to potential infringers).
A design registration can help you commercially exploit your product design to its fullest potential – you can licence use of your design to third parties, or even sell your design.
If you don’t register your design, it is possible someone else could look to register your design, or something very similar, and then try to prevent you from registering or even using your design in the future.
A registered design lasts longer than unregistered design rights (assuming you pay the renewal fees on time for the full life of the design). Unregistered designs also provide a much narrower scope of protection in comparison 'as you have to show there has been copying' of an unregistered design by an infringer (i.e. that they new of and copied your design – this can be hard to prove).
Can I register my design if I already sell the product?The short answer is - maybe.
You may still be able to obtain a valid registration if you started to sell your product (or otherwise disclosed it to the public) within the previous 12 months. If you disclosed/started to sell your product longer than 12 months ago, then you will not be able to obtain a valid UK or EU design registration.
I want to register my design, but I also want to keep my design secret from my competitors. Should I delay filing an application?It is always recommended that you seek to register your design as soon as possible. When it comes to UK and EU designs, if you want to keep your design secret, you can defer the publication of your design application. This means that details of the design will not be made publicly available until you request that the design is published. However, this also means you cannot enforce your design until it has been published.
How long does it take to register a design?The process can be very quick. Typically UK and EU design applications take only 1-2 weeks from filing to registration (assuming no problems arise and you do not defer the publication of your design).
However, design applications in some other countries (e.g. the USA) can take much longer.
How long does a registered design last?For UK and EU registered designs, a registration will remain in force for a maximum of 25 years from the date of filing the application, provided that renewal fees are paid every 5 years.
The life of designs in other countries can differ (e.g. in the USA, design registrations last for 15 years).
How much does it cost to register a design?Fees for filing and registering a registered design depend on the number of designs you want to protect in one application and whether you want to defer publication of the registration.
For registering a design in the UK, we typically charge a fixed fee of £500 plus VAT per product design (i.e. this is the cost for preparing the application, filing it and notifying you of its subsequent registration). This includes all official filing fees and assumes you do not defer publication.
For registering an EU (Community) Design, we typically charge a fixed fee of £850 + VAT per design (i.e. this is the cost for preparing the application, filing it and notifying you of its subsequent registration). This includes all official filing fees and assumes you do not defer publication.
If you want to protect multiple designs at one time, or if you want to protect your design in other countries outside of the UK/EU, we can provide pricing upon request.