A UK registered design gives the owner the exclusive right to use the design in the UK. In order to obtain a valid registration, the applicant must have a design (being the appearance of the whole or part of a product), that is new, has individual character within the EU, and is not an excluded category. The application is filed with the UK Designs Registry, and can last for a maximum of 25 years from the filing date. In Ireland an owner of a design applies for registration to the Irish Patent Office. A design filed under the old statute can last for 15 years and a design filed under the new statute (Industrial Designs Act 2001 which covers all designs filed since 1st July 2002) can last for a maximum of 25 years as long as the renewal fees are paid.
A registered Community Design (RCD) is an equivalent EU unitary right that applies throughout all member states of the EU, thereby avoiding the need for separate infringement proceedings in each relevant country. The application is filed with OHIM in Alicante, Spain, and can last for a maximum of 25 years from the filing date.
Effect of Brexit on Registered Designs:
While the UK remains a full member of the EU, RCDs continue to be valid in the UK. Post-Brexit, an RCD will cover the remaining EU member states. However, uncertainty exists as to the validity, post-Brexit, of an RCD in the UK. Post-Brexit, UK businesses will still be able to register an RCD, which will cover all remaining EU Member States.
It is the UK’s stated intention to ratify The Hague Agreement to join this international system in a national capacity. The Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs allows for registration of up to 100 designs in over 66 territories through filing one single international application.