Design Right Solicitors

Briffa’s design practice is one of the best in the country and has an enviable reputation for helping clients build value in their business by looking after those vital design assets.

Often neglected by businesses, registered design rights can be a valuable tool to a business seeking to protect the special look of their products.

Get in touch if you would like help

  • making more money from your design work.
  • to protect your designs by filing for Registered Designs in the UK or further afield.
  • your designs have been copied.
  • to licence designs to grow your business

Registered Designs

A UK registered design gives protection for up to 25 years as long a the necessary renewals every 5 years are undertaken.

In terms of scope of registered design protection, designers can protect various aspects of their designs such as :-

  • shape
  • configuration
  • pattern
  • materials
  • both 2 dimensional or 3 dimensional features of a product or design

To register a design it must be a new design

In order to register and fully protect a design legally that design must be new. difficulties can arise where a design is similar to an existing design. In legal terms, the test is whether similarities are so strong that differences are immaterial. As you may imagine this is not always easy to clearly determine and many legal disputes over designs arise where businesses seek to protect previously registered designs. In a competitive marketplace disputes can arise for tactical and commercial reasons, so t’s worth ensuring you have specialist legal advice from the outset.

Of significant benefit for designers is the sensible legal position whereby a designer has up to 12 months to exhibit and market before making a final decision as to whether to register that design.

Difference between and legal implications of registered and unregistered designs

Failure to register a design does not mean that you have no legal rights to protect it. If someone copies your design you can still take action..

The most significant and practical difference between registered design legal protection and not registering your design is that with a registered design :-

  • nobody has the right to use part of your design without your approval.
  • whether a person who copies your design was aware of your design or deliberately copied all or part of it is irrelevant. Registration gives you that full protection whereas with an unregistered design the position is potentially very different.

3 good reasons for registering your design

  • Possible evidential issues – with a  registered design it is not necessary to show the design has been copied to establish infringement.
  • For graphic design elements of important trade marks.
  • Unregistered design rights do not exist in many countries outside Europe.

Briffa’s experience and track record

Our IP lawyers have a detailed understanding and experience of the way in which design law works and can use this knowledge to enhance any design business.We have been involved in numerous leading and ground breaking cases in the field of design and the firm is a recognised leader in this area of law.

Cases include Magmatic Limited v PMS International Group Plc (The Trunki Case), Farmers Build v Carriers, Parker v Tidball, Green Lane Designs v PMS Group and Teddy Smith v Next.

Examples of recent design rights work

  • Furniture designers – see recent case study.
  • Product designs of all sorts – phones, electronics, pet grooming tools, kitchen utensils and machines, kettles, toasters.
  • Lighting designers.
  • Fashion – includes accessories, bags, belts, umbrellas.
  • Computer software business for graphical user interfaces

Book a free meeting or ask us a question.

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