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Protect my designs

Written by Michael Coyle on 02 July 2009

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We are often asked how best to protect a design. There are a number of methods. Some of which are unregistered rights and some of which remain registered rights. The unregistered designs do not allow for a monopoly on your design ( as opposed to a registered design) but the law affords you the following protection

Design right.

Any designs which came into existence after August 1 1989 will be protected by design right introduced by the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988(CDPA). This is a specific design right. In addition to this you also have unregistered design right protection in the form of copyright. However this level of protection has been diluted somewhat due to the existence of the CDPA and in particular section 51 of the CDPA. It will still retain some significance with designs created before 1989. Finally there is the (Unregistered) Community design which protects design under EU law by virtue of the Community Design Regulation (Reg. 6/2002). So in summary there are three 'levels' of design available to you.

Contrast this with Registered Designs

A registered design is the 'daddy' of the two. It is a registration system; a stronger form of protection which is a monopoly on the design. There are two areas of protection available to you. Firstly under the Registered Design Act 1949 as amended by the CDPA 1988 (Sched 4) and by the Registered Designs Regulations 2001 ( SI 2001/3949) and the Registered Community design. The Registered Community Design protects EU designs which are registered as Community design under the Community Design Regulation (Reg.6/2002) under a system of registration introduced on April 1 2003.

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