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Registered design protection in the UK

Written by Waheedan Jariwalla on 14 May 2009

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It is important to protect the design of your product if it if is unique and different to anything else on the market. You can do this by registering it as a design with the UK Intellectual Property Office.

Registering your design gives you exclusive rights for the look and appearance of your product. The existence of your design registration may be enough on its own to stop anyone copying your design irrespective of whether they copied or came up with the design independently.

A registered design allows you to sell your design and the intellectual property rights to it (assignment) or license your design to someone else and retain the IP rights to it.

Once registered, your design will be published and available for the public to view. By doing this, society as a whole can benefit from being able to see the latest developments in designs and technology. Once the design registration expires, the designs will be able to be used freely.

If you do not apply for a registered design, your creations may receive limited protection through unregistered design right or copyright. One big difference in having a registered and unregistered design is that by having only an unregistered design, you will not be able to stop anyone from producing identical or similar products by independent creation.

Design right law in the UK is covered by the (1) Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988, (2) The Design Right (Proceedings before Comptroller) Rules 1989 and (3) The Design Right (Proceedings before Comptroller) Rules 1992.

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