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Design Rights

The term “Design Right” refers to the specific legal protection available to unregistered designs in the UK. There are specific differences between Design Right and Registered Designs.

Registered Designs give exclusive rights in a design, in the UK, for up to 25 years.

It is possible to stop people making, offering, putting on the market, importing, exporting, using or stocking for those purposes, a product to which ownership of a design is applied. Two-dimensional designs or surface patterns can be protected as well as shape and configuration with a Registered Design.

By comparison, Design Right gives automatic protection for the internal or external shape or configuration of an original design, i.e. its three-dimensional shape. 

Design Right stops anyone from copying the shape or configuration of the article, but does not give protection for any of the 2-dimensional aspects, for example surface patterns. 

Protection is limited to the United Kingdom (UK), and lasts either 10 years after the first marketing of articles that use the design, or 15 years after creation of the design – whichever is earlier.

For the last 5 years of that period the design is subject to a Licence of Right. This means that anyone is entitled to a licence to make and sell products copying the design. Design Right is effective only in the United Kingdom.