Requirements of licence for Unregistered Design Rights.

In order to prevent owners of design right from abusing monopoly powers over mainly functional articles, the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) provides for any person to be entitled to a licence in the last five years of the term of the design right to do anything as regards the design right which would otherwise be an infringement of the right (section 237(1), (CDPA).

If the parties are unable to agree the terms of the licence, the terms will be settled by the Comptroller of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (section 237(2), CDPA).

This can be a lengthy process, but an infringer can manufacture pending settlement of the licence terms.

The design right expires 15 years from the end of the calendar year when the design was first recorded in a design document or (if earlier) from when an article was first made to the design or;

Ten years from the end of the calendar year when articles made to the design were first made available for sale or hire.

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