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Designs are wonderful things but complicated in legal terms. The law separates designs into those which have aesthetic value, a new and novel ‘look’ and can registered – a “registered design”; and those which lack ‘eye appeal’ but which still have elements of design – an “unregistered design right”.

Both registered design and UDR are capable of protection in both the UK and the EU and different protection periods apply in each.

The scope of protection differs for each too – a registered design is a ‘monopoly right’ (similar to patents and trade marks) which prevent an infringer from producing, selling, manufacturing, importing etc products made to the design which does ‘not create a different overall impression on an informed user’. A UDR in contrast, is only infringed if someone copies the design and produces an article to the design which is substantially the same as that which is protected.

How we can help with your registered design/unregistered design

Our Intellectual Property team can help you whether you have a registered design or need to register a design. Below are some of the ways in which we can help you:

  • Design audit – understanding your design rights. 
  • Design strategy – deciding on the best way (in terms of budget and territory) to register your designs.
  • Enforcing your design rights.
  • Entering into exploitation agreements.

Design related frequently asked questions

Why should I register?

Registering your design, if it fulfils the criteria of registrability, makes it much easier to take action against anyone who deals with products (registered design) or makes an article to the design (unregistered design right) without permission. A registered design is your property, so you can sell it, let others have a license to use it and derive income from it, or use it as collateral to raise money. Even if you have an unregistered design, this is still a valuable asset which you can licence.

What should I register?

You can only register designs which have eye appeal and which are capable of registration. We can help you with this. You should register the design itself.

Where should I register?

Registered Designs are territorial, so it is important that you obtain protection in the key territories in which you trade.

How do I get a Registered Design?

You can apply through the intellectual Property Office here in the UK. If you wish to apply internationally, it is probably better to speak to an expert.

How we’ve helped our clients

“I approached Paris Smith based on the recommendation of another law firm I had worked with previously, regarding the split from an ex business partner. They helped me detangle the IP issues as part of the buyout and, importantly, supported me through the various aspects of the overall dispute. Business is not just business – especially not for SMEs like me! So it was critically important that Laura and Helen understood both the business issues, but also had an appreciation for how I might want to deal with things considering my personal objectives as well as outlook on life. I would recommend Laura and Helen and the team because they deeply care about their clients and are able to merry up the ‘cold’ legal world with the softer needs of the people they try to help. ”

Hanne Kristiansen – We are Creative Creatures

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Laura Trapnell
Partner – Head of Commercial and Intellectual Property

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