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Registered and Unregistered Design Protection
If your livelihood and reputation depends on your designs and drawings then they require protection. At Saracens Solicitors we are able to offer advice in relation to both unregistered and registered design rights. We can advise you on the existence and ownership of a design right and the extent of any associated protection.
Unregistered designs are governed by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You do not need to formally register as the right comes into force as soon as the design is created. The design cannot be commonplace in the particular market the designer works within and you must create a design document (a record of the design) for the unregistered design protection to apply. The design document may simply be a photograph or a written description.
An unregistered design right will last 15 years from the time the design document was made and/or 10 years from the time the products made to the design went on sale.
Registered designs are governed by the Registered Designs Act 1949 and provide wider protection than if the design remains unregistered. You can register designs so that they are protected throughout the European Union. It protects the appearance of all or part of the design and its ornamentation. This can include the designs:
To be registered, the design must be new, have individual character and qualities and be registered within 12 months of the design being made available to the public.
Protection for a registered design can last up to 25 years.
If you wish to register a design you need to follow a process and pay certain fees. We offer a comprehensive service which includes the filing of the necessary documentation with the relevant authorities to ensure full recorded protection.
We can also advise you on the law relating to both the assignment and licensing of design rights. As the former involves transferring full ownership and rights of the design over to a third party and the latter allows you to retain ownership and draw an income from another party’s use of the design, it is essential that you obtain sound legal advice so you can make the best decision for your business. Our experienced commercial solicitors can advise you on the pros and cons of both assignments and licences so you can have full confidence in the decision you finally make on how best to commercially exploit your creative work.
To talk further about registered and unregistered design rights please fill in our call back form or simply phone our office on 020 3588 3500 to speak directly to one of our intellectual property lawyers who can assist you.