Designs may be registered nationally in the UK or by a single registered Community Design covering all EU countries. The term of protection is up to twenty-five years.
To be registrable, designs must be novel and possess "individual character". Novelty is assessed in relation to the published designs of third parties from the date of the registered design application (or priority date if claimed), but there is a one year grace period in respect of the designer's own disclosures. This means that if a design has been placed on the market or otherwise published, then there may still be an opportunity to obtain registered design protection taking advantage of the grace period.
Individual character means the design must produce a different overall impression from any known design.
Features of the appearance of a product which are solely dictated by its technical function are not protectable by UK or Community registered designs. Features which are necessary for a product to fit another product are also not protectable.
We file UK and Community design applications at the London branch of the UK IPO.
For more detailed information please refer to our briefing notes.