The main features of registered designs: Registered designs can protect both three-dimensional and two-dimensional designs and can be a one-off design. The design is protected across all sectors and is not limited to the product to which it was originally applied. Parts of articles can be protected as designs, provided that they are visible in normal use. The design must be new; an identical or very similar design must not have been disclosed anywhere in the world prior to the application. However, the designer has a 12-month grace period after disclosure in which to file his application for a design. The design must have “individual character” – it must give a different overall impression from previous designs. However, it need not have artistic merit. Protection can last for 25 years, and the procedure for registration is relatively low-cost and quick.
When a matter is taken to court, parties can, in some instances, make an offer to reach an agreement before the dispute proceeds to trial