IP BASICS: Should I have a registered design?
You can register the look of a product you’ve designed to stop people copying or stealing it.
The look of your design includes the:
- physical shape
- configuration (or how different parts of a design are arranged together)
What you’ll get
Registering your design:
- protects any aspect of your design, for example both the product’s shape and decoration
- gives you the right to prevent others from using it for up to 25 years - you have to renew your registered design every 5 years
- makes taking legal action against infringement and copying more straightforward
Once registered you can display your registration number on your design.
Shapes of objects may already be automatically protected by design right, but it’s easier to protect your design if you register it.
What you can and can’t register
To register your design, it must:
- be new
- not be offensive (for example feature graphic images or words)
- be your own intellectual property
- not make use of protected emblems or flags (for example the Olympic rings or the Royal Crown)
- not be an invention or how a product works - you’ll need a patent instead
You cannot protect the functionality of a design - for example a chair that folds down more quickly than others of the same kind.
Search the registers
Search all of the following design registers to check if your design is unique:
You can ask the Intellectual Property Office to search for you for £24.
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