Designs—a practical guide
Produced in partnership with RPC
Designs—a practical guide

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

  • Designs—a practical guide
  • Registered designs
  • Unregistered designs
  • Other considerations
  • Conclusion—top tips for effective protection of design rights

Designs are protected by law both at UK and EU levels. Designs can be protected by registered design rights and/or unregistered design rights. For an overview of the protection available for designs, see Practice Note: Applying for UK and EU registered designs and Q&A: How do I protect my design?

This note provides practical guidance to enable proprietors of designs to ensure that their designs benefit from the protection available. The note deals with considerations relating to registered designs and unregistered designs separately. Issues relevant to both registered and unregistered designs are discussed in the sections entitled: Other considerations and Conclusion—top tips for effective protection of design rights below.

Registered designs

Registered designs give designers a monopoly right over the appearance of their design. Such protection is valuable to a designer, but there are a number of potential pitfalls to be aware of, both before and during the registration period, which could limit the benefit of a registration.

How best to represent your design

Guidance from the Supreme Court in a widely publicised case involving the well-known Trunki ride-on case (the Trunki case) highlighted the importance of ensuring that drawings submitted with an applicationfor a registered design right accurately represent the design that the applicant wishes to protect. The Trunki case concerned a registered Community design (RCD), but the same issues will apply in relation to UK registered designs.PMS International Limited v Magmatic Limited [2016] UKSC 12

For more information about the case, see News Analysis: Trunki sent packing by Supreme Court.

Following the judgment in the Trunki case, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) issued guidance on the use of representations