We can help you protect your designs, with a range of support covering a wide variety of issues. To learn more about some of our specific services, follow the links below.
Whether you are a design right holder concerned that some else is copying your ideas, or have been accused of infringing a third party’s rights, we can advise you on how to manage design enforcement and infringement.
If a competitor's registered design is causing you concern, or if your own registration is being attacked, we can guide you through the design revocation process.
Freedom to Operate
Before you launch a product with a new appearance, it’s wise to consider the risk from existing design rights to ensure you are not at risk of infringement.
When you need to register your design, our team will use their extensive experience in the UK and Europe to ensure the process is smooth.
We can help make sure any unregistered design rights fit into your design protection strategy.
To get the most out of registered design protection, you should carefully consider your strategy in advance.
Meet the designs team
Get to know our expert attorneys by following the links below.View full team
Frequently asked questions
What types of product can be protected with registered designs?
Pretty much any type of product, or even parts of products, can be protected with a registered design. In many countries, this includes not only 3D articles, but also 2D designs like graphical user interfaces and logos.
When should I seek advice on protecting my design?
You should seek advice before your design has been publicly disclosed (communicated to others outside of any expressed or implied confidentiality), or as soon as possible if it has already been disclosed.
Can I still obtain registered design protection if I have already disclosed my product?
Maybe, but you should act fast. Some territories allow you to register a design after it has been disclosed. This includes the UK and Europe, which provide a 12-month period from the first disclosure within which you may still register a design.
How do I register a design?
To register a design, you need to file a design application with an Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The speed of the process varies from country to country. Some IPOs, including the UKIPO and the EUIPO, do not conduct a substantive examination of design applications and so the design may be registered in a matter of days or weeks. Other IPOs, such as the USPTO, conduct a more thorough examination and hence the process can take between one and two years.
Who owns a design?
While the rights to the design will always originate from the person who created the design, depending on the country, those rights (and hence ownership of the design) may well be automatically transferred elsewhere. For example, in the UK, a design created by an employee will typically be owned automatically by their employer. It is particularly important to ensure that, where multiple parties are involved, there is a contract in place which makes clear who will own the resulting IP (including designs).
Do I need an attorney to file my registered design application?
There’s no legal requirement to have an attorney prepare and file your applications, but going it alone is risky. Despite their apparent simplicity, design applications are easy to get wrong, for example by filing drawings which inadvertently limit the scope of protection which you hoped to obtain. This can have significant consequences for your business strategy. The long-term cost of an error could significantly outweigh the up-front cost of engaging an attorney. In the UK, registered patent attorneys and trade mark attorneys are also qualified to advise on designs and will be able to help get the right design protection for you.
Do I need a strategy for protecting my designs?
If your business involves creating products which have value in their appearance, then yes! A design right strategy could be critical to your business’ success. Even if the appearance of your products is a peripheral factor, designs can provide an important additional tool in your IP armoury. A good designs strategy will also make sure the scope of protection obtained through the designs ties in with your business plan. Key to this is ensuring that your design registrations represent the right features of your product, and in the correct way.
Who do I speak to about my design question?
If you are new to GJE then please feel free to enter your question into the contact form below and we will direct it to the appropriate person. Alternatively you can browse the people section of our website to get in touch with one of us directly.
Get in touch
If you are an ambitious business and you expect an IP service provider that can understand and help you achieve your commercial objectives, then we want to work with you.
Complete this enquiry form and one of our specialists will be in touch within one working day. Alternatively you can call us on +44 (0)20 7655 8500. We look forward to hearing from you.