DESIGN  /dɪˈzʌɪn/ verb
decide upon the look and functioning of (a building, garment, or other object), by making a detailed drawing of it

Registered Designs protect aspects of the shape, appearance, configuration and other aesthetic aspects of an article. They tend to be simpler than patents, at least initially, because whereas a patent requires careful drafting of a detailed specification to capture the invention, registered designs tend to consist of either of photos or line drawings of the article in question. That said, it is nevertheless critical that such photos or line drawings capture the essence of the design, or more precisely, the features of the design which are desired to be protected, as the recent “trunki®” case demonstrated (PMS International Limited v Magmatic Limited [2016] UKSC 12).

In order to obtain a Registered Design, it is necessary to file a formal application, and once filed, the prosecution of the application through to registration is often quite straightforward, and in most cases, registration can be achieved well within 12 months from filing the application, should it be desired to obtain enforceable protection for a design quite quickly. Naturally, we assist you through at all stages of the design assessment, application and registration process.

After registration (which in most jurisdictions lasts 5 years), registered designs can be renewed for subsequent periods of 5 years, usually up to a maximum of 25 years.

Industrial and commercial Designs may also, in certain cases, be afforded automatic protection under Copyright without any requirement for registration (the so-called “unregistered design right”). However, as explained on that page, in order for Copyright (and therefore unregistered design right) to be infringed, there must be copying, whereas there is no such requirement for infringement of a Registered Design. This fact, together with the substantially longer period of protection available under the Registered Design legislation, almost always make this form of protection more preferable and advisable, if you want to ensure the most robust protection for your design.