As we continue this series of Intellectual Property, today we look at the registrations of designs. This has to be one of the tricky ones, as it seems to be vague at best as to what can be registered and how it is registered. So let’s unpack some of the details:
A registered design can either be for aesthetics or for function.
The aesthetics design are granted for the appearance as seen by the eye: colour, shape and pattern. This covers items such as a new shape of the vase or a chair design with a high back and long flowing armrests. The form (shape) and colours are both covered in the aesthetic design. This can be registered and will give you protection for 15 years.
The function design covers the features that are described by the function of the item: the movement and working parts of a product. This includes items such as a lock mechanism, a clutch pencil or a window opener. A functional design once registered will give you cover for 10 years.
Both these forms of IP give you the protection from others being able to copy or use the registered designs without your permission. The obvious question is how closely do they have to copy your item for it to be an infringement? This is the big issue and comes down to the way your design is described in the registration. Your application should be well written by a legal professional with experience in design registrations and include drawings, cad designs, photos and 3D renders of the product.
All registered designs need to be filed in the country that you require protection in. This obviously raises the cost of registration and should be considered carefully when applying to balance the cost to reward for your required protection.
We have a team on hand to assist you with this process and to answer any questions you may have about your new invention. Do not get caught without the required protection, it could end up costing you your future income.