What is a Design Right?
The Intellectual Property Office defines a Design Right as automatic protection for the internal or external shape or configuration of an original design. It allows you to stop anyone from copying the shape or configuration of a three-dimensional shape but doesn’t give you protection for 2-dimensional aspects (for example, surface patterns).
Protection is limited to the UK and lasts for either 10 years after the first marketing of articles that use the design or 15 years after the creation of the design.
It is worth noting that there are limitations to protecting your designs this way. For example:
- You can only take action against someone who you think is using your design if you can prove it was intentionally copied – this can be difficult to prove
- You can only protect the three-dimensional shape
- Protection only lasts for 15 years
For these reasons it may be better for you to officially register your design with the Intellectual Property Office. A suitably experienced solicitor will be able to provide you with advice relating to your design.
What is a Registered Design?
A Registered Design gives you extra legal protection and covers two-dimensional and three-dimensional designs.
You can apply for a Registered Design through the Intellectual Property Office and this will give you the right to make, use and sell your designs and enable you to take legal action against anyone who copies your idea.
It will also give you the ability to licence or sell your design on to a third party should you wish.
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