A “design” is defined in the Registered Design Act 1949 as meaning the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation. The Act goes on to define a “product” as meaning any industrial or handicraft item, including parts of a more complex product, packaging, get-up, graphic symbols and typographic typefaces.
These definitions make Registered Design protection available for a wide range of designs. As well as protecting the designs of three dimensional products and of patterns for which registered design protection has traditionally been obtained, it is possible to protect items such as logos, computer icons and fictional (e.g. cartoon) characters. In many cases therefore both design and trade mark registrations will be available for the same thing. It is possible to protect the appearance of part of a product, such as the handle of a mug or the lid of a pen.