Businesses often overlook pursuing design rights when they seek protection for their new product or technology. Design rights can offer attractive benefits over other forms of intellectual property protection. The speed and simplicity of the registration process, the remediation process if design rights are infringed upon, and the low cost are some of these benefits. Let’s explore design rights a little further.
Design Rights Explained
- Registered design rights are a monopoly right that will protect the aesthetic qualities of an item when these are determined new and of individual character. Contours, lines, shape, texture, and materials are all examples of aesthetic qualities that may be protected with design rights.
- Unregistered design rights protect any part of the shape or configuration of the object, internal or external. This applies to the item as a whole or just a specific part, for example, individual parts of a machine.
- Community registered and unregistered designs extend these rights outside the UK and across the European Union.
- All forms of design rights are renewable for a set period of years.
Why Register Your Rights?
By registering your design rights, you can prevent another product from infringing upon your design or elements of your design. Design rights can also be used as part of a comprehensive program of protection for your business’s products and/or technologies.
Design rights are obtainable at a relatively low cost. Registration and review are simple and fast, which means that design rights work well for companies seeking to protect a wide variety of products that are ever-evolving. Toy makers have been quick to take advantage of the use of design rights, protecting hundreds of variations of popular dolls, toy cars, and their numerous accessories.
Design rights also give companies a unique way to protect their new media and/or digital products. Copyright can protect the code for a software application but generally do not offer protection for the look and feel of what this code produces on a screen. Design rights are ideally suited to protect these digital images. These rights can protect video game characters and graphic icons, among others.
Another reason to acquire design rights is the speed with which infringements on your design are remedied. This is crucial for fast-moving industries like fashion, which has a quick turnover. Design rights can help fashion designers protect their products in key markets and allow them a quick and easy means of dealing with design infringement issues.