If you are based in the UK It is possible to register at both UK level and European level.
Registration at the UK Intellectual Property Office is a quick and cheap form of registration when compared to patent and trade mark protection. It also allows greater flexibility as to the number of views of the design for which protection is sought which can be submitted. However it only provides protection against infringement within the UK. Therefore you will not be protected against any infringements which may occur outside the UK.
Registration at the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) will provide protection for the design in all 27 Member States. It is again possible to include multiple designs within one application provided they are all for the same type of goods.
If you wish to use your UK design registration as a springboard to other countries you will need to produce your Convention Documents and file the same within 3 months of the filing of the UK application.
So how do I apply for a UK design?
In order to qualify for registration the design must satisfy two main criteria:
1. it must be new: This means that there must be no existing identical or similar design which only differs in immaterial details.
2. it must have individual character:
3. It should give a different overall impression to informed users than any other design which has previously been made available to the public. These will both be defeated if the design has been disclosed, for example by way of exhibition or offering for sale, more than 12 months prior to application.
Registered design protection is a valuable asset especially if your product is purchased (in the main) on the grounds of its appearance.