British registered designs
To obtain a British registered design, an application
needs to be filed at the Designs Registry, which is part of the Patent
Office. The application must identify the applicant, include a declaration
that the applicant is the proprietor of the design and also the owner of
any design right in the design, specify the article to which the design is
to be applied, include representations (drawings or photographs) showing
the design, and include a statement as to the novelty of the design, for
example the shape and configuration of, or the pattern and ornament
applied to, the design shown in the representations. A filing fee must
also be paid.
The application is examined to ensure that it complies
with the formal requirements of the relevant Act and Rules, but the
Registry no longer conducts a novelty search as a matter of course.
Nevertheless, if the examiner knows that the design is not novel,
objection will be raised.
Assuming that any objections can be overcome, the
design is registered, details of the registration are made available to
the public by the Designs Registry, and a certificate of registration is
issued to the proprietor.
How long does it take?
If there are no objections, or any objections are dealt
with swiftly, the time from application to registration is typically four
Term and Renewal
The design is initially registered for five years from
the date of filing, but the registration may be renewed for additional
five year periods up to a maximum of 25 years upon payment of the
appropriate renewal fees.
If the design is modified, the proprietor can register
the modified design as an associated registered design. Similarly, if the
design is applied to other articles, the proprietor can register the
design as an associated registered design in respect of those other
articles. In either case, the original registered design and any
publication of it is disregarded when assessing the novelty of the
associated design. However, the associated registered design cannot remain
in force for any longer than the original registered design.