Registered design rights for businesses | What is a registered design? | Protecting your product

What is registered design?

A registered design protects the appearance of the whole or a part of a product. This includes features such as the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials of the whole or part of a product or its ornamentation. However, designs do not protect the functionality of the product. Like patents, registered designs are territorial – they can only be enforced in the jurisdiction they are granted in.

Registered design filing schedule process

Why should I register my design?

Design protection complements trade mark and patent protection, and is often a lower cost. Sometimes it is the only protection available for new innovations. Registering the look of the product you’ve designed aims to stop people copying or stealing it. Once registered you can license, sell or mortgage your design.

How do I get a registered design?

Design rights can be registered or unregistered, and we’ll advise you on how best to proceed. If we can register your design, we’ll search all UK, EU and worldwide design registers and intellectual property. We’ll also prepare detailed drawings ready for review (and filing) by the UK Intellectual Property Office. We’ll also draft and submit the application on your behalf.

Would my idea qualify for a registered design?

Design law is complex so we’ll help you decide whether your design should be registered. To register your design, it must:

  • Be new
  • Be your own intellectual property
  • Not be an invention or dictate how a product works
  • Never be offensive (i.e. no graphic images or words)
  • Not include protected emblems (such as the Olympic rings).

Why is it important to do this during the design process?

You need to ensure that the appearance of your design is not similar to other designs if you wish to register it. We’ll ensure your design is unique by undertaking the search during the design process. This saves you time and further cost if you find later on that your design isn’t new and protected by someone else.

Designs provide more immediate protection. They can be registered much quicker than applying for a patent (which is generally applied for after the design is fully developed).

How long does it take to get a registered design?

In the UK and Europe, applications are relatively straightforward to make and of relatively low cost. The Intellectual Property Office aims to examine your design within two weeks of submission.

How long will the registered design apply?

In Europe it is a maximum of 25 years. You must renew your design registration every five years.

Other types of intellectual property

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