Registered Designs

Registration of a logo by way of a registered design is an alternative to trade mark registration and can even provide additional protection in respect of a logo which has or will be registered as a trade mark.

A registered design offers a much wider scope of protection than trade mark registration as design registration is not limited to specific categories of goods/services as is trade mark registration. However, a registered design can not protect any wording which either form part of, or accompany the design, this properly being within the remit of trade marks.

In order to gain design protection, the design must be ‘new’ and have ‘indivdual character’. ‘New’ in the design sense means that there must be no existing identical design or a similar design which differs only in immaterial details. ‘Individual character’ means that it should give a different overall impression to informed users than any other design which has previously been made available to the public.

As part of the above, the design must not have been disclosed to the public prior to application, for example, shown at an exhibition or offered for sale. There is, however, a 12 month grace period prior to application in respect of this to enable testing and guage potential interest in the product. However, the design will not be protected against infringement during this period. Therefore, it is always advisable to apply for registration as soon as possible.

In order to consider whether your design satisfies these requirements you should consider how you created the design, whether you were influenced by an existing work, or whether you have seen something similar somewhere else. Provided you consider that your design is your own individual creation you should then consider whether you have shown anyone your invention to determine whethet this was in the grace period.

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