Design Rights

Design rights is one of the most complex areas of IP law – particularly because what may appear to obviously apply as a design right may be a patent, or vice versa. Not separating these two correctly can cost time and money, and this is why you need a team of experts to help you understand your choices and how to obtain design rights.

What qualifies for a design right?

  • An icon that you may have made for your app or website
  • A pattern that you’ve made, such as one for clothing
  • A design you’ve made for a product you’re selling – for example, you may have set up a company that sells food, and this food is sold in specifically-designed and decorated boxes

Design rights in the UK are separated into two categories – Registered Design Rights, and Unregistered Design rights.

Unregistered design rights apply automatically – they apply to the shape of a three-dimensional design if some criteria are met. This is a form of intellectual property protection, and you rarely need to worry about this type – unless your design rights are infringed, in which case you may have a legal case against whoever infringed these rights, and Sterling Law can help you build this case. A common misconception is that these unregistered design rights also apply to 2D objects, such as a pattern. Whilst EU regulations do cover these, EU design rights have to be registered separately from UK ones.

Registered design rights are different; you need to register the design and pay a fee, but they give more protection and cover 2D objects as well. Unregistered design rights only last 15 years, but registered design rights last 25 years, as long as you renew them 5 times.

Sterling Law can help you with renewal, creation, and prosecution; you may have an especially strong case with registered design rights, as these do not have to be intentional to be prosecutable – they just need to have happened with your design being registered first. Contact us for more help and details, and if your design does not fit Design Rights descriptions, you may be eligible for a patent instead, which we are also experienced and recommended in as a firm.

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Our team of dedicated lawyers has vast experience of working with start-ups, small and medium-sized companies.
We will ensure your business operation are fully compliant, saving you time and money so that you can concentrate on your company growth, and we’ll take care of the rest. Let us know how we can help you by choosing one of the services below. Not sure what you need? Not to worry, ask your questions by filling in the form below, and we’ll get back to you with the answers.

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Copyright Copyright

IP law in the UK has a component which we are all familiar with: copyright law. Currently, copyright law in the UK mostly stems from the Copyrights, Designs, and Patents Act 1998 – and it’s crucial for you, whether you are a musician, writer, artist or an original producer of anything else – that your content is protected.

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Patents Patents

IP law has two sides to it: contentious and non-contentious IP. It is important ensure your intellectual property is marked as yours as clearly as possible, and that, in case of infringement – such as someone stealing your graphics, ideas, or branding – you are able to respond quickly and make use of all the resources available that the law provides you with. One of the most effective, and important, ways for you to protect your IP is through patent law, which our team is experienced and capable in.

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Trade Secrets Trade Secrets

As a business, trade secrets are likely THE most important thing for you to protect. Firstly, let’s explain what a trade secret is and why it may be important for your business to register as having them.

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A common question is what is the difference between a trademark and copyright? Is my logo trademarkable or copyrightable? If you want to protect your brand’s logo, it’s important to understand the difference.

Trade Secrets
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