Debunking Misconceptions About Registered Design Rights in the UK

Written by Anastasia Troshkova | January 31, 2024

Design Rights

Registered design rights are a valuable form of intellectual property protection that play a critical role in safeguarding the visual appearance of products. However, there are several misconceptions surrounding registered design rights in the UK that often lead to misunderstandings and missed opportunities for businesses.

Misconception 1: Unregistered Designs Offer Sufficient Protection

One common misconception is that unregistered designs provide sufficient protection for the visual appearance of products in the UK. While it is true that unregistered designs can offer some level of protection through unregistered design rights, the scope and duration of protection are limited compared to registered design rights. Registered design rights provide more comprehensive and enforceable protection, offering businesses greater certainty and security against unauthorised imitation and infringement.

Misconception 2: Registering Designs is Time-Consuming and Costly

Another misconception is that the process of registering designs in the UK is time-consuming and prohibitively expensive. In reality, the process of registering designs is relatively straightforward, and the costs involved are often reasonable, especially when compared to the potential risks and losses that businesses may face due to unprotected designs. By investing in registered design rights, businesses can mitigate the risks of design infringement and safeguard their intellectual property assets in a cost-effective manner.

Misconception 3: Design Rights Are Only Relevant for Certain Industries

There is a misconception that registered design rights are only relevant for specific industries or sectors, such as fashion and consumer goods. In reality, registered design rights have widespread applicability across diverse industries, including electronics, automotive, furniture, and more. Any business that invests in creating innovative and distinctive designs can benefit from registering their designs to secure exclusive rights.

Misconception 4: Design Rights Are Limited to Physical Products

It is commonly misunderstood that design rights only apply to physical products and have limited relevance in the digital or online sphere. However, registered design rights can also extend to digital designs, graphical user interfaces, and other virtual or non-physical designs. In an increasingly digital and tech-driven economy, businesses should recognise the importance of protecting their digital designs through registered design rights to prevent unauthorised use and reproduction.


In conclusion, it is essential for businesses to fully appreciate the benefits and implications of securing design protection in the UK. If you have any questions or require legal guidance related to registered design rights, please drop us an email or give us a call and we will be happy to arrange a free consultation with one of our specialist IP lawyers.


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