Design defences
Produced in partnership with RPC
Design defences

The following IP guidance note Produced in partnership with RPC provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Design defences
  • Defences available in registered design infringement actions
  • Defences available in unregistered design infringement actions

There are four key design rights in the UK:

  1. UK registered design

  2. UK unregistered design

  3. Community registered design

  4. Community unregistered design

For further information about the nature and subsistence of these four rights, see Practice Notes: Registered design rights in the UK and European Union and Unregistered design rights in the UK and EU.

UK and Community registered designs are governed by the Registered Designs Act 1949 (RDA 1949) and the Community Design Regulation (CDR) respectively. UK and Community registered designs both protect, for up to 25 years, the appearance of the whole or part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials of the product or its shape or ornamentation. In the case of Community registered designs, protection is granted throughout the EU.Council Regulation (EC) 6/2002 arts 3 and 12Registered Designs Act 1949, ss 1 and 8

UK unregistered design is governed by Part III of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988) and it protects, for a maximum of 10–15 years, the shape or configuration (whether internal or external) of the whole or part of an article.Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, s 213CDPA 1988, s 216

A Community unregistered design is governed by the CDR and protects, for three years, the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation. Again, protection is throughout the EU.Council Regulation (EC) 6/2002 arts 3 and 11

Defences available in registered design infringement actions

The following