Registered Designs


Many designs benefit from automatic protection by virtue of unregistered design rights but registering your valuable designs is often a sensible precaution because:

  1. a registered design, being easily searchable and referable on the product, in your product literature and so on, serves as a visible deterrent and statement of intent to would-be imitators
  2. registered designs have a long lifetime – twenty five years in the UK and Europe, subject to renewals every five years
  3. whereas unregistered design rights are infringed only where there is actual copying of your design, registered designs can be infringed by designs that are independently created, without actual copying taking place
  4. registration can be a quick and economical procedure.

The range of subject matter that can constitute a design is very broad. The design may be for a three dimensional product, but it may instead be two dimensional, as for example the design of a computer icon or of a fabric. It may be designed to appeal to the eye or it may be utilitarian in nature so long as the design is not dictated solely by the function to be performed.

Protection in the UK can be obtained either through a UK or European registration. The cost difference is not great so the option of pan-European protection is often favoured.

We can easily give you a costing upon request.

The key part of a registration is a set of representations of the design, which can be drawings or photographs. We can help with preparing these if need be.

Unlike patents, design applications in Europe and the UK are subject to minimal examination and they can proceed very quickly.

There are various reasons why a design registration may prove – if later tested in court – to be invalid, but UK and European authorities do not look for these issues themselves and consequently applications often go to grant without any post-filing challenge or charge.

Working with us

We know the law but it’s you that best understands your technology and your market. Strong patents that serve your commercial goals are typically the result of a close and lasting collaboration between patent attorney and client. Client relationships are all important to Bartle Read and in order to foster them we are:


 …in the way that we work with you. Lines of reporting should be set up for your convenience, not ours.


We will often need you to take decisions or to give technical input, but in matters of patent law it is always us that should be proposing solutions to problems.

Plain Spoken

Patents and patent law are ridden with jargon but it’s our job to make sense of it for you, not to bamboozle you with it.
Got a question? Please don't hesitate to ask it Contact us

Bartle Read
Liverpool Science Park
131 Mount Pleasant
Liverpool L3 5TF
United Kingdom

Follow Bartle Read on LinkedIn Follow Bartle Read on Twitter