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UK and EU Registered Designs

31 July 2019

What can be protected by a registered design right?

A registered design can protect the appearance of the whole or part of a product resulting from the features, in particular the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials, of the product itself and/or its ornamentation. Protection is available provided that the design is new and possesses “individual character”. To possess individual character, the impression the design produces on an informed user must differ from the impression produced on that user by any other design already in the public domain.

In practice, registered designs are used to protect everything from handbags to fonts, air fresheners to suitcases. Registered designs offer a great addition to those that create new products as well as packaging, graphic symbols and other elements of branding.

What rights does a registered design give?

In a nutshell, a registered design is a “monopoly right”. It grants its owner the exclusive right to use the design (or any other design giving the same overall impression as the registered design), including by making, offering, marketing, importing, exporting or stocking products incorporating the design. Owners of design rights have legally enforceable rights, subject to certain limitations and defences, to prevent third parties using the design.

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