Improving registered design protection to help businesses

An Intellectual Property Bill has been introduced to the House of Lords.  This Bill intends to reform design protection in the UK in order to simplify and improve design protection.

The key points are:

  • To make infringement of a registered design a criminal offence for the deliberate copying of UK registered designs and Community design registrations valid in the UK.  This will include a fine and/or imprisonment and will therefore provide a further deterrent to protect designs from blatant copying;
  • To introduce a voluntary non-binding designs opinion service at the IPO with respect to validity and infringement of a registered design.  This has a view to resolving disputes without the need for costly litigation or to reduce subsequent litigation costs by enabling it to focus on specific issues; and
  • To enable the UK to accede to the Hague International Design Registration system in its own right.  This is an International system for registering a design in multiple member countries via a single application. 

The above measures, when implemented, will strengthen the position of registered design owners and enable a clearer and easier enforcement of their rights. 

A registered design is a legal right which protects the visual appearance of a new and original product or a part thereof. If you would like more information about obtaining design protection, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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