‘Design right’ automatically protects your design for 10 years after it was first sold or 15 years after it was created – whichever is earliest.
You can use it to stop someone copying your design.
Design right only applies to the shape and configuration (how different parts of a design are arranged together) of objects.
You can also register your design for better protection provided it meets the eligibility criteria.
You must register a design to protect 2-dimensional designs such as graphics, textiles and wallpaper.
Prove your design right
You’ll need proof of when you created a design if you want to claim design right.
This could be getting signed and dated copies of your design drawings or photos certified and kept by a solicitor or intellectual property attorney.
There are other ways to prove design right. You’ll usually need to get professional advice.
Design right disputes
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) can help with some design right disputes.
You’ll usually need professional advice to take legal action using design right.
Licence of right
You can allow someone else to use your design by selling or giving them ‘licence of right’.
In the final 5 years you must give a licence of right to anybody who asks.
You can ask IPO to help if you can’t reach an agreement on the terms of the licence.
Design rights in the EU
Designs, including patterns, may be automatically protected in the EU as ‘unregistered community designs’. This gives your design 3 years protection from copying.
Read guidance on other ways to protect your intellectual property overseas.