Whereas patents protect inventions, design rights protect product appearance.
They can be a powerful weapon against competitors and imitators, especially since unregistered design rights are -as the name implies, and under appropriate circumstances - created automatically, without the need to apply for them in advance.
For longer lasting and more easily demonstrable protection, designs can be placed on official registers. Registered design protection is obtainable quickly and at moderate cost.
Being easily searchable, registered designs can among other things serve as a deterrent to potential imitators.
In the UK the role of copyright in protecting industrial products has for a long time been limited by provisions intended largely to draw a line between design right and copyright protection and to reduce overlap and double protection. These provisions are receiving political scrutiny at present and are likely to change.
At Bartle Read we have the knowhow to maximise the value of your portfolio of design rights and to help you put them to effective commercial use.