Design right is a badly named and ungrammatical concept explained in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA88)
Under section 3 CDPA88 design right does not subsist in a method or principle of construction, features of shape or configuration of an article which enables an article to be connected to, or placed in, around or against, another article so that either article may perform its function or are dependent upon the appearance of another article of which the article is intended by the designer to form an integral part, or is surface decoration. In addition a design that is common place in its field will not qualify for protection.
Under section 213(6) CDPA88 somewhat obviously no design right can exist in something not made or in a design document. Under subsection (7) there is no protection for already existing works.
Under section 215 CDPA88 where a design is created in the course of employment, first dibs to the employer, although at Lawdit we have seen challenges on the course of employment phrase in the patent field as well. In addition a commission counts allows first dib to the commissioner too.
Under section 216 CDPA88 protection afforded by design rights lasts fifteen years from the end of the calendar year in which the design was first recorded in a design document or an article was first made to the design, whichever first occurred.