What is my automatic design right?
According to UK intellectual property law, a design right ensures automatic protection for ten years after the design’s first sale. Or 15 years after it was created, whichever comes first.
It is an unregistered form of intellectual property protection that, for the specified period, prevents anyone else from copying your design.
According to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), unregistered design rights only cover the shape and structure of items. Or how the different aspects of your design(s) are fitted together.
How can I become eligible for UK design rights?
In order for your design to be acceptable for an automatic UK design right, “ it is necessary:
Initial – a design that is all your own.
Unusual – a design that is not universally acknowledged among a group of products with similar features
Design rights won’t be applicable to innovations that are inspired by the need to be:
- connected to another object
- cooperating with the other elements of a product
The IPO also states that two-dimensional designs such as those found in wallpaper, textiles, and graphics do not easily qualify for UK design rights. You should register your design in order to protect this kind of design.
How can I show that I designed the art?
You will need evidence that you created the design in the first time if you want to claim your design rights over a particular design.
The IPO presents two methods for proving the validity of your design:
Send copies of your design drawings to yourself by registered, dated, and unopened mail, or leave copies with your bank or lawyer.
Send yourself photocopies of your design through registered, dated, and unopened mail. Or leave them with your lawyer or broker.
By completing these procedures, you are providing undeniable proof that the disputed design was initially created by you. Also, having it on hand is a good idea in case there are any future disputes regarding design rights.
Design right exceptions
- Unregistered design rights typically belong to the person who produced the design. But, in a few circumstances, this is not the case:
- According to their employment relationship, if an employee creates a design when at work, the employer will hold the rights to that design.
- The person who ordered the design from the designer will be the founder of the design right (unless otherwise agreed)
Understanding licences of right
The IPO states that as the owner of a design right, you may provide a “licence of right” to another person. So that they can use your design.
According to Rule 14 of The Design Right (Proceedings before Comptroller) Rules 1989, owners of design rights may change the conditions of a licence granted to third parties, which gives you a chance to collect fees from the licensor.
The IPO specifies that you must grant a licence of right to anyone wishing to create, sell, or import your design into the UK. Ant the duration will be the final five years of your unregistered design right.
Automatic design rights anywhere in the EU
Your creations, including patterns, may be automatically secured throughout the European Union (EU) under the categories of “unregistered community designs,” according to the IPO.
Any unregistered community design gets three years of copy protection, starting from the day it was first made available to the public in the EU. This is according to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
Note: By receiving a registered community design, you can protect your design in the EU with the EUIPO before it is marketed.
In terms of time and level of protection, a registered community design is very different from an unregistered one. Previously in becoming updated in sets of five years for a maximum of 25 years, registered community designs are valid for five years from the filing date.
Is my design notably different?
If you finally decide to try and register your design, you can search up whether it is original in the following design registers online:
The World Intellectual Property Organization’s Intellectual Property Office.
Office for Internal Market Cooperation
Additionally, the Design view can be used to search for good designs in the UK and registered with the Community Designs Office or the World Intellectual Property Organization.