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Registered design protection

Why should I register my design?

There are a number of benefits of registering your design. Some of these are listed below.

  • Exclusive rights in your design

A Registered Design grants exclusive rights in the look and appearance of your product. You can stop people making, offering, putting on the market, importing, exporting, using or stocking for those purposes, a product to which your design is applied.

  • Protect all aspects of your design

Design Registration protects the overall look of the whole or a part of your design. You can claim protection for the shape of a product, a two-dimensional surface pattern or graphic design, or a combination of the two.

  • Long period of protection

Registered Designs can be renewed every 5 years up to a total of 25 years.

  • Easier to enforce

The existence of your registration may be enough to stop anyone infringing your design irrespective of whether they copied or came up with the design independently.

  • Make money from your design

A registered design allows you to sell your design and the intellectual property (IP) rights to it; or licence somebody else to use your design whilst you retain the IP rights.

  • Deferred publication

You can choose to defer registration and publication of your design for up to 12 months. This allows you to establish a filing date, but gives you more time to develop the product or apply for a patent before publicly disclosing the design on our Register.

  • Public benefit

Intellectual Property registration aims to protect the creator but also to benefit the public as publication of registrations showcases developments in design and stimulates further innovation.

What happens if I do not register?

If you do not apply for a registered design, your creations may still receive limited protection through unregistered Design Right or copyright: However, there are some limitations to what may be protected:

  • You can only stop people using your design if you can prove it was intentionally copied so Design Right is difficult to enforce.
  • You can only protect the three-dimensional shape.
  • Two dimensional designs may be protected by copyright but this is more difficult to enforce than a Registered Design.
  • Protection only lasts for a maximum of 15 years and is subject to a Licence of Right for the last 5 years.

Other kinds of protection

This table compares registered and unregistered design rights as well as other kinds of protection which may apply to designs.