FAQ - Registered designs

Q. What is a Registered Design?

A registered design is a legal right which protects the visual appearance of a product. It gives the owner the option to sue, in Court, a party who uses (including manufacturing and selling) the design, or a very similar design, without authorisation. If such a Court action is successful, the registered design owner may be granted, for example, damages and/or a Court Order requiring the other party to stop using the design.

Q. How do I obtain a Registered Design?

A registered design is obtained by applying to the intellectual property office in the country or region of interest. In many cases, there is no examination of novelty of the design and the application proceeds to registration provided the application meets certain formal requirements.

Q. How long does it take to obtain a Registered Design?

This varies from country to country, but in general it is relatively short process which may take days, weeks or months.

Q. How much does it cost to obtain a Registered Design?

This varies from country to country. It is also affected by the route via which design protection is pursued. In general, the process of obtaining a registered design in the UK may cost about £600 (plus VAT where payable). We can give you a more precise cost estimate based on your requirements.

Q. In which countries should I apply for a Registered Design?

You might choose to apply for a registered design protection in the countries in which you plan to sell your product, the country in which you will manufacture, and potentially also countries in which competitors are likely to manufacture competing products.

Q. How is ownership of Registered Design determined?

There is some variation from country to country. For designs made in the United Kingdom, the designer is generally the first owner of the invention, unless the design was made in the course of the duties of the designer as an employee, in which case the invention may be owned by the employer. If you would like advice about ownership, please let us know.

Q. Should I keep my design confidential?

In general, you should keep your design confidential until a design application has been filed. In the United Kingdom, a design application may be filed up to 12 months after disclosure of the design by the designer and the disclosure does not destroy the novelty of the UK design application. However, this is not the case is all countries and if design protection outside the UK is required, the design should be kept confidential.

Q. What happens after registration?

If you a granted a design registration in the United Kingdom, the maximum duration of the design registration is 25 years although you will need to pay fees to the UK Intellectual Property Office every five years to keep the design registration in force. The situation varies in other countries.