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Design rights

The UK has some of the world's top designers who create amazing products, so don't miss out on the opportunity to protect and exploit your designs.

Design rights are rights in how a product looks. The product can be either two or three-dimensional.      

'Unregistered' design rights arise automatically on creation of the product.  

Provided that the design is new and original you can also apply for it to be 'registered' in the UK , EU or internationally.

Design rights prevent others from copying them.

Registering a design means that no one else can use it, even if they claim to have come up with the same design independently.

If a registered design is granted it will last for up to 25 years but needs to be renewed every five years.

Unregistered design rights last for 15 years in the UK, and three years in the EU, from the end of the first year that the product is first marketed.

You can apply to register your design online at the Intellectual Property Office website or by filling in the appropriate forms and sending your application by post. The fee is £60 for the initial application and £40 per design in any multiple application if you apply by post and £50 for the initial application for one design if you apply online.

When you share your valuable confidential information, including registered and unregistered design rights, with another business, consider using an appropriate confidentiality agreement. Use Rocket Lawyer’s simple interview process to create a mutual Confidentiality agreement or a One-way confidentiality agreement, depending on whether one or both parties are sharing confidential information.

Make sure your agreements with independent consultants have the necessary provisions relating to IP created in the course of working for you. 

If a party breaches your design rights, consider issuing a Cease and desist letter to protect your intellectual property.


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