UK registered and unregistered designs
UK registered and unregistered designs

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

  • UK registered and unregistered designs
  • What design protection is available in the UK?
  • Prior to IP completion day
  • As of IP completion day
  • UK registered designs
  • Scope
  • Duration
  • Ownership
  • Relationship with Community (EU) registered designs and international (Hague) designs
  • Application procedure
  • More...

This Practice Note considers UK registered designs pursuant to the Registered Designs Act 1949 (RDA 1949), and UK unregistered designs (sometimes referred to as ‘unregistered design right’ or ‘design right’) pursuant to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988). This Practice Note covers the scope of protection of such rights and the qualifying criteria, as well as validity, duration and infringement. It sets out the application procedure for UK registered designs. It also considers the impact of Brexit on the UK designs regime and the interaction between the UK regime and the EU Community designs regime.

What design protection is available in the UK?

Design rights protect the shape, configuration or appearance of the whole or part of a product or article (rather than its functional aspects). Design law is intended to stop other people making products which are made to the design of or create the same overall impression as the original design.

The design rights covering the UK before and after IP completion day (11 pm GMT on 31 December 2020) differ.

Prior to IP completion day

The four design rights available in the UK prior to IP completion day are set out below.

Registered design rights:

  1. UK registered designs

  2. registered Community designs (RCDs) (in force across the entire EU)

Unregistered design rights:

  1. UK unregistered design right (also known as ‘design right’)

  2. unregistered Community designs (UCDs) (in

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