Registered and unregistered design right infringement

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

  • Registered and unregistered design right infringement
  • UK unregistered design right
  • Primary infringement
  • Secondary infringement
  • Exclusions from infringement
  • Innocent infringement
  • Joint infringement
  • Criminal sanctions
  • Deciding whether infringement has occurred
  • Threats provisions
  • More...

Registered and unregistered design right infringement

This Practice Note discusses infringement of UK and Community (EU) registered and unregistered designs.

The designs regime in the UK is fairly complicated (especially following Brexit) and covers a number of different rights. As there is overlap between these different rights, it is possible for one product to be covered by more than one design right at a time.

Prior to IP completion day (11 pm GMT on 31 December 2020) there were four design rights available in the UK: UK registered designs, UK unregistered design right (also known as ‘design right’ and UK UDR), registered Community designs (RCDs), and unregistered Community designs (UCDs).

On IP completion day, the Community (EU) design regime governed by EU Regulation (EC) 6/2002 ceased to apply in the UK and RCDs and UCDs ceased to provide protection in the UK. However, the holders of pre-existing RCDs and international design registrations designating the EU were granted comparable UK registrations, called ‘re-registered designs’ and ‘re-registered international designs’ respectively. In addition, holders of pre-existing UCDs became holders of ‘continuing unregistered designs’ which provide the benefit of the UK protection conferred by the UCD for the remainder of its three-year term. Further, a new ‘supplementary unregistered design’ became available in the UK, which mirrors the scope and duration of the UCD and bridges the gap between the UK unregistered design

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