REGISTERED DESIGNS & UNREGISTERED DESIGN RIGHT
What kind of designs can be registered?
To obtain a valid design registration, a design must be new and have
individual character; that is, the design must produce a different overall
impression on a user when compared to other designs already available to the
I have already shown my design at an exhibition, can I still obtain
Most probably, provided the design was first made public less than twelve
months ago and provided your competitors have not filed an application to
register the design in the meantime. As a general rule, it is always best to
file an application for any form of intellectual property protection as soon
as possible (and, of course, in the case of patents, it is essential that a
patent application is filed whilst an invention is still secret).
What happens after filing a registered design application?
An examination is conducted to ensure that the design applied for satisfies
formal requirements. However, no official examination of the novelty and
individual character of the design is conducted.
How long does it take for a design to be registered?
UK registered design applications tend to proceed to registration within one
to two months of filing whereas European Community registered design
applications tend to proceed to registration within six to twelve months of
How long does a registered design last?
Up to 25 years, subject to the payment of renewal fees every 5 years.
Can I apply for a patent and a registered design?
Yes, but a registered design application should not be filed before a patent
application, since publication of the design may invalidate a subsequently
filed patent application.
Why do I need a registered design when I have applied for a patent?
registered design protects the appearance of a product so is generally more
limited in scope than a patent, but protection is usually obtained much more
quickly. Thus, a design registration will enable you to rapidly obtain a
right which can be used against any infringers who copy the appearance of
your product as well as, or instead of, its underlying principle of
Can I obtain design protection in foreign countries?
UK and European Community design registrations only afford protection in the
UK and the European Community, respectively. However, it is possible to
obtain registered design protection in many other countries. Overseas
registered design applications should be filed within six months of the
first registered design application that is filed.