How to protect a design

Registered design protection is available for the outward appearance or ornamentation of the whole or a part of a product. Registered designs are a low cost and effective form of protection for products and can last for up to 25 years.

There are also design right (unregistered) designs. These fall into two categories. The first is the UK design right, which arises automatically when an ‘original’ design is created, providing that the design is recorded, or an article is made according to the design. The UK design right protects the three-dimensional shape of a product and lasts for 15 years.

The other is a community design right, which differs from the UK design right in that it subsists automatically in novel designs that have individual character for the appearance of the whole or a part of a product, resulting from the features of the product itself and/or its ornamentation. Community design right lasts for a period of three years from the date on which the design was first made available to the public within the European Community.


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