The key to a successful business is the correct use of Intellectual Property. You need to make sure you have the right type of IP for you to maximise your protection.
A registered design gives you the legal right to prevent others from using your design therefore allowing you to benefit from its sole use.
With a registered design you can protect the look of your design which includes, its shape, appearance, pattern, decoration or configuration.
There are a number of restrictions on what can be registered. Your design has to be original and cannot have already been registered. The design cannot be offensive or contain any protected emblems.
Your protection can last up to 25 years but your right does need renewing every 5 years.
As you can probably tell from its name, this right require registration. This is done through the UK Intellectual Property Office who can give you more information on how to submit your illustrations.
You can gain a design right automatically on certain shapes. This will automatically protect your design for 10 years after it was first sold or 15 years after it was created – whichever is earliest.
However, it is extremely hard to gather the amount of evidence needed to prove you were using this design first.
Therefore, it would always be recommended that you register any design for the best level of protection.