Registered Designs FAQs

How Long Will the Registration Last?

Maximum duration of 25 years (renewal fees are due every 5 years).

How Much Does it Cost?

It is often possible to provide a fixed fee quotation for filing and processing a design application to registration and we would be happy to discuss this. Contact us now to obtain a personalised cost estimate or ask about our fixed fee filing packages.

How Long Does the Process Take?

Assuming there are no problems or unexpected complications it is possible to have a design registered within a matter of weeks. It is unusual for significant complications to arise during the registered design application process.

What is the Difference Between a Registered Design and an Unregistered Design?

Registered designs prevent others making, selling or otherwise dealing in products which are made to the design. It is not necessary to show the design has been copied; the right may be enforced against someone who has independently developed the same design. Unregistered designs provide much more limited protection than registered designs, partly because it is necessary to show actual copying of the design (which can be very difficult to prove) if you wish to take action against someone using your unregistered design without your permission.

What is the Difference Between a UK/ Community Registered Design and a US Design Patent ?

Firstly, Community Designs are very quick to register (typically they become registered within a week or so after filing).  This is partly because they are not substantively examined by the EUIPO; instead the examination of a Community Design application is restricted to relative formalities only.

US Design Patents and EU Community Designs are sometimes considered equivalent to one another; however, that is not accurate.  Of the available forms of IP in the EU, Community Designs are probably the closest thing to an equivalent of US Design Patents; however, they are perhaps better thought of as being simply “different from one another in terms of their scope”.  In some cases, the protection gained from a Community Design is narrower than would be available from a US Design Patent for the same product; however, in others, the converse may be true.  This is mainly down to the infringement test and jurisprudence applied to Community Designs being quite different from the tests applied in respect of US Design Patents.  In addition, it is important to note that there are no claims at all in a Community Design application – the scope of protection is solely defined by the drawings / images.

Possibly the most succinct way of understanding the difference between a Community Design and a US Design Patent is to look at Article 10 of the Community Design Regulations which states the following:-

Article 10

Scope of protection

  1. The scope of the protection conferred by a Community design shall include any design which does not produce on the informed user a different overall impression.
  2. In assessing the scope of protection, the degree of freedom of the designer in developing his design shall be taken into consideration.

Thus the only test for infringement of a Community Design is whether a competing design produces a different impression on the informed user (taking into account the design freedom of the designer).


Any Questions?

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