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UK design right protection

Written by Tim Mount on 28 March 2010

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Design protection is a complicated area of law with separate routes for protection. Starting with the free and automatic, UK design right gives you automatic protection for the internal or external shape or configuration of an original design.

UK design right allows you to stop anyone from copying the shape or configuration of the product, but does not give you protection for any of the 2-dimensional aspects, for example patterns.

Instead you can protect 2-dimensional designs using copyright or registered designs.

Copyright is also automatic and free. As the design right it is sensible, if the design is important to you, to create a paper trail documenting your creation of the design. Not least because both only protect a designer from others copying their design, so if you can prove independent creation you are not infringing.

This in turn helps make it important that you have a date for your creation.

Lawdit provides services for registering the date of your design - be that copyright protection or design right protection.

Design right lasts either 10 years after the first marketing of products that use the design or 15 years after creation of the design, whichever is earlier. For the first 5 years you can stop anyone from copying the design.

For the last 5 years the design is subject to a License of right. This means that anyone is entitled to a licence to make and sell products copying the design.

Your UK design right will only give you protection in the United Kingdom (UK).

Tim Mount

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