UK Registered Designs

A UK Registered Design protects the appearance of a design in the UK only.  It can be used to stop others from making, selling, offering for sale, etc., in the United Kingdom, designs that do not create on the informed user a different overall impression.  

We can also register your design throughout the European Union (EU) – read more.  

The Registered Design Act places no restrictions, per se, on the types of designs that can be protected. Designs are protected in an abstract sense, and so they are not restricted to particular products.  As such, the design of a toy automobile, for example, also (potentially) covers the design of full-sized automobiles, novelty computer mice, pepper pots, etc. all having the same outward appearance. You can use Registered Designs to protect the appearance of packaging, graphics, web site layouts or anything else for that matter in which visual appearance is an important factor.

To be capable of valid registration, the design must be new and create a different overall impression.  It must not be dictated solely by its technical function, nor must the design be dictated by the shape of something else (the so-called “must fit” or “must match” exceptions.  We can advise on a case-by-case basis, so please contact us if you need more help.

The Registered Designs Act allows “multiple” applications to be made, provided the designs in question fall into the same Eurolocarno class.  It is therefore possible to apply to register several designs at once, using a single application process.  The main benefit of making a “multiple” application, as opposed to a series of separate applications is a significant reduction in costs.

We provide design registration services on a fixed-fee basis.  Our fixed-fees include our professional service charges for providing pre-filing advice, choosing an appropriate class or description, e-filing the application, attending to payment of the official fees from our UKIPO Deposit Account (which includes the filing and publication fees), reporting filing and providing the application number, receiving and forwarding the filing receipt and the registration certificate, and entering the case in our renewals reminder system.

Provided you send us up to 7 good quality representations of each design to be protected, we can usually file the application within 48 hours of receipt.  Registration (grant) usually takes somewhere between 2 and 14 days to complete.

Because we use the UK Intellectual Property Office’s (UKIPO’s) online filing portal, we effectively enter the filing data directly into the registration system.  Unlike the EUIPO, the UKIPO carries out some basic checks and searches before registering the design.  Quite often, we receive queries or clarification requests, especially if priority is claimed.  The cost of attending to these matters is included in our fixed fee.

Note that because the application is not substantively examined, there is no presumption of validity: the mere fact of registration does not give rise to any positive right to use the design.

A UK Registered Design can remain in force for up to 25 years from its filing date, subject to renewal payments every 5 years.

If you have filed a registered design application in another Paris Convention country less than 6-months prior to the UK Registered Design’s filing date, you can claim priority and effectively backdate the UK Registered Design to the earlier application’s filing date.

Provided the design has not been in the public domain for more than 1 year, it is usually possible to validly file a UK Registered Design application by relying on the “grace period”.  There is one crucial proviso, however – the first public disclosure of the design must have made the design in question known to entities operating in the EU, otherwise, the design may lack novelty.  We can advise on this on a case-by-case basis.