Registered Design -V- Design Right


The ‘Design’ of a product relates to it’s particular look, shape, colour, etc, and it can be registered in the UK as a ‘Registered Design’.

Where a Design is not registered, intellectual property rights will still exist in the form of a ‘Design Right’. There are differences between the two, some of which I list as follows:

1. Originality of the design

Registered Design: The design must be new/original and not identical to an existing design, and it must have individual character.

Design Right: The design must be original, not copied from an existing design, and not commonplace.

2. Getting Protection

Registered Design: Need to apply to the UK Intellectual Property Office

Design Right: No registration is required, and the right is automatically created.

3. Protection

Registered Design: Monopoly protection – you will have sole protection in the design.

Resign Right: Exclusive right against copying. A licence of right is available for the last five years of protection.

4. Length of Protection

Registered Design: 25 years from the filing date of the application.

Design Right: 15 years from the end of the calendar year where the design was first recorded in a design document or, if a design is made available for sale or hire within 5 years, 10 years from the end of calendar year that first occurred.

5. Renewable?

Registered Design: Yes, can be renewed every 5 years upto a maximum of 25 years.

Design Right: No

6. What is protected?

Registered Design: The overall appearance of the design, excluding features dictated by function.

Design Right: Only three-dimensional aspects of your design, excluding surface ornamentation.

7. How can the right be enforced?

Registered Design: Your design does not have to be directly copied – similarity could be enough.

Design Right: Your design must be copied directly, and prove the date that your design was created.

8. Can the right be sold?

Registered Design: Yes

Design Right: Yes


Designs are often overlooked. It is worthwhile reviewing all the various IP rights in the products and services your business offers. IP rights need to be managed, and therefore they are best noted in a single place (eg, a portfolio) so that they can be constantly reviewed and renewed where necessary. Lawdit Solicitor’s IP department can help you identify and manage your company’s IP.


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