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IP for Startups and other Small Businesses - Registered Designs


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The handout for my talk on IP for Startups and other Small Businesses at the Beacon Enterprise Centre in Llanelli on 22 March 2019

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IP for Startups and other Small Businesses - Registered Designs

  1. 1. Registered Designs Jane Lambert1 The appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials of the product or its ornamentation (​“the design”​), that is ​new ​and has​ individual character​ may be registered for the UK alone under the provisions of the Registered Designs Act 1949 as a ​registered design​, or, for the whole European Union (including for the time being the UK) under the provisions of the Community design regulation as a ​registered Community design​ (​“RCD”​). Effect of Registration The registration of a design gives the registered proprietor the exclusive right to use the design and any design that does not produce on the informed user a different overall impression. “Use” for these purposes includes: ● making, offering, putting on the market, importing, exporting or using of a product in which the design is incorporated or to which it is applied; or ● stocking such a product for those purpose. Designs that could have been registered under the Act or Regulation enjoy up to 3 years protection from copying throughout the EU as ​unregistered Community designs ​(​“UCD”​), Infringement The right in a registered design is infringed by doing does anything that is the exclusive right of the registered proprietor. Novelty A design is ​new​ if no identical design or no design whose features differ only in immaterial details has been made available to the public. 1 Barrister, 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square, London, WC1R 5AH, Tel 020 7404 5252, 1
  2. 2. Individual Character A design has i​ndividual characte​r if the overall impression it produces on the informed user differs from the overall impression produced on such a user by any design which has been made available to the public. Registration Applications for registration under the Registered Designs Act 1949 are made to the Intellectual Property Office in Newport. Applications for registration under the Community design regulation are made to the European Union Intellectual Property Office in Alicante. Applications Applications can be made in writing on online using prescribed forms requiring the applicant’s name and address and particulars of the design. There is no examination for novelty or individual character but the application will be checked for compliance with the formalities. If all appears to be in order the design will be registered and the applicant will receive a certificate of grant. Term Designs are registered for 5 renewable periods of 5 years each. Enforcement Infringement proceedings are brought in the the Patents Court or the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (​“IPEC”​). Deliberate copying of a registered design is now an offence in the UK. Invalidity Registrations may be declared invalid if the design should not have been registered in the first place either because it lacked novelty or individual character, was granted to the wrong person or otherwise. Applications for declarations of invalidity can be made to the IPO or, as the case may, be EUIPO or by way of counterclaim in infringement proceedings. Threats Registered design owners should be careful when communicating with suspected infringers because ​ ​they can be sued for threatening infringement proceedings unless the threat is justified. 2
  3. 3. Legislation Registered Designs Act 1949 /system/uploads/attachment_data/file/737827/Registe red_Designs_Act_1949.pdf Registered Designs Rules 2006 /system/uploads/attachment_data/file/737829/Consoli dated_Design_Rules.pdf Community Design Regulation cument_library/contentPdfs/law_and_practice/cdr_leg al_basis/62002_cv_en.pdf 3