Design Law

design imageIt is possible that a design might be protected under copyright law, if it constitutes an “artistic work”. I can advise you as to whether this protection is available in a particular case.

However, separately from copyright law, there are two types of legal protection specifically for designs under UK law:

A registered design provides stronger protection than unregistered design right and applies in different circumstances.

There is also a system which can provide a registered design that is effective throughout the European Union — the Registered Community Design. And to make things even more complicated, there is also an Unregistered Community Design.

What is the difference between a design and other Intellectual Property Rights, e.g. patents and trade marks?

All intellectual property rights are intended to protect the creativity of businesses and individuals. However, they do not cover the same aspects.

A design only covers the appearance of a product. A design cannot protect the function of a product.

A trade mark identifies the origin of the goods and/or services of one business to differentiate them from those of its competitors.

A patent protects the function, operation or construction of an invention. To be patentable, a function must be innovative, have an industrial application and be described in such a fashion to permit reproduction of the process.