If a designer discloses his design he has a 12-months in which to apply for registration of the design (section 1B(6)(c) and (d), RDA). This grace period (a concept well known abroad) gives the designer time to exhibit and market his design to test the reaction to his design. However, if during the 12-month period a third party makes a same or a similar unconnected disclosure before the designer has applied for registration of his design, the designer’s application may be refused. This risk may be avoided by making an application for registration as soon as possible after disclosure of the design. The 2006 Order has further reduced this risk by allowing all applicants the option of delaying publication and therefore registration of their designs for up to 12 months. This will minimise the possibility of copying as official publication can be arranged to coincide with the launch and marketing of the product.
When a matter is taken to court, parties can, in some instances, make an offer to reach an agreement before the dispute proceeds to trial