Registered Designs protect the appearance of products, and can cover their shape, surface decoration and/or texture, including both internal and external features.
A competitor will infringe your registered design if they produce a very similar product, even if you can’t prove they copied from you. This is one of the benefits over design right protection. Another benefit is that a registered design can last for up to twenty five years.
A Registered Design doesn’t protect the way the product works, and can’t be used to stop someone making a product which looks different but has the same function. If function is important, patent protection may be more suitable.
Typical products that might be covered by registered designs include crockery, cutlery, furniture, children’s toys, clothes, luggage and mobile phones. Some of these products, for example mobile phones, might also have patent protection for the way they function.
You need a Registered Design in each country in which protection is required. You can achieve this by filing:
- separate applications in each country
- a European Community Registered Design Application, which covers the whole EU.