What is a registered design?
A registered design protects the external shape of the product. It gives the owner the right to stop anyone copying the external design of their product, within their geographical jurisdiction. In the US similar protection to that offered by registered design rights is referred to as a design patent.
Why do I need to register a design?
It can be helpful to have design protection registered for the following (non-exhaustive) list of reasons:
– Suite of IP: Registering a design adds to the range of available registered protection for parts of your project.
– Commercial: A number of commercial reasons, such as credibility. It may be possible to license or assign parts of your suite and/or markets. A registered design gives you a clear piece of property.
– Grace Periods: If you register in the UK (ideally before you go on sale in any markets) you are able to extend protection within 6 months to other markets if necessary.
– Foreign production: Design protection can be useful as patents may be difficult and expensive to enforce.
– Patents: Patent protection is never guaranteed, leaving you with the possibility of no protection.
If you have applied for a patent then a registered design can add a secondary form of protection to further protect your product. A registered design is processed much quicker than a patent so can provide more immediate protection in the short term.
Sometimes a registered designs are more relevant than a patent and can better protect the product (i.e. a new shape for a chair). This can stop other people copying a unique design.
Important information about how to register a design
A registered design will protect a particular design in any particular category you choose to register under (known as Locarno classifications) ie. if you want to register a star shaped hat you would protect this shape under the ‘hat’ classification.
The best images to submit are professional computer-generated 2D black and white line drawings.
If you want to patent your product, applying for a registered design MUST be done AFTER the patent has been applied for.
How much will design registration cost?
The cost for a UK registered design application is approximately £60
We would generally advise to apply for a Community Registered Design, which covers you in over 30 European countries, as this only costs approximately 350EUROS and is therefore more cost effective.
It is fairly straight forward to apply for registered designs, but should you need someone to apply on your behalf or assist with the application there will be additional costs.
How do I apply for a registered design?
To apply for a UK Registered Design you must complete and send the relevant forms to the UK Intellectual Property Office with the application fee.
You can also now apply online to the UKIPO.
To apply for a Community Registered Design you must complete and send the relevant forms to the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) in Alicante, Spain. You must also pay the application fee NB. OHIM do not accept cheques.
You can also now apply online for a Community Registered Design through the OHIM website.
How can Innovate help me register a design?
Innovate prepare images for filing, and review the best filing approach for minimal official fees, liaise (in-house) with designers, suggest most appropriate classification, format and prepare your filing with an easy to follow explanation, and advise on any communications you receive. The UK IPO will examine the application for compliance with formalities.
For more information on this see Idea Development…