Copyright in designs
Copyright in designs

The following IP practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Copyright in designs
  • Relevant legislation and key cases
  • No concurrent claim for copyright and design right infringement
  • Copyright protection for articles made to design documents
  • Position under CDPA 1988, s 51
  • Practical application of CDPA 1988, s 51—artistic works (2D to 3D)
  • Copyright protection for surface decoration
  • Repeal of CDPA 1988 section 52
  • Section 52
  • Leading up to the repeal of s 52
  • More...

IP COMPLETION DAY: 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marks the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements come to an end and significant changes begin to take effect across the UK’s legal regime. This document contains guidance on subjects impacted by these changes. Before continuing your research, see Practice Note: What does IP completion day mean for intellectual property?

This Practice Note examines the complex relationship between copyright and designs. For more information about designs law and copyright law, see: Design transactions and management—overview and Copyright & associated rights—overview.

Prior to the implementation of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988), copyright was the principal means of protecting rights in industrial articles. One of the intentions behind CDPA 1988 was to limit the application of copyright to industrially commercialised designs and introduce an unregistered design right in the UK (often referred to as 'design right'). For a visual summary of the role of CDPA 1988 copyright provisions, see: Application of copyright law to designs—flowchart below.

Authors of artistic works that are applied industrially may not be able to rely on copyright but instead may rely upon design right or registered design(s). However, copyright remains a means of protecting:

  1. original

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