Intellectual Property

Design Rights

In a crowded marketplace having a distinctive design can make or break a product, regardless of how that product performs. A design will usually have a direct economic value to its owner and protecting the product of your creativity is crucial to maximising a return.

If your business has produced a design, whether in a two-dimensional format in a design document or a finished product that is novel or unique, it is likely to qualify for registered design right protection.

Unregistered Design Rights

Although registration is strongly recommended an unregistered design right can arise automatically on creation of the design or object in a similar way to copyright. We can help you to understand and enforce these rights in the absence of registration, if you think someone is trying to capitalise on your creativity. Alternatively, a registered design requires a formal application to the Patents Office and grants more extensive protection.

Registered Designs

Manufactured products are often the result of significant market research and investment in the development process and it is fundamental that their unique qualities be registered to protect and effectively harness their value and guarantee a return on this investment.

A design right operates to protect the appearance of a product either internally or externally and, in particular, the lines, colours, shapes, textures or materials of the product itself and any decorative features, from copying.

Our specialist intellectual property team can assist you with the registration of your rights in the UK and across the European Community and protection can last for up to 25 years.

We can:

  • Advise whether your designs and products qualify for protection;
  • Register those designs and renew them as required;
  • Carry out searches of the UK and EC design rights databases and advise whether your design infringes any existing third party rights;
  • Advise whether your design attracts automatic unregistered design right protection;
  • Advise you on how you can commercialise and exploit your design right;
  • Help maintain the integrity of your design portfolio by monitoring the registration of competing products;
  • Prepare and negotiate license agreements for third parties to use your design; and
  • Advise on any ownership issues

We are also experienced at preventing others from taking advantage of your designs by taking firm and swift action as soon as any wrongdoing comes to light. Whilst the course of action we will advise will largely depend on your specific circumstances we are experienced at resolving your dispute outside of the civil court process using ‘cease and desist’ letters, negotiation or mediation; as well as protecting and enforcing your rights more formally by seeking an injunction, delivery up of any infringing articles, and compensation from the infringer, whether through the High Court or the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court.

Our Intellectual Property Team

Matthew Miller
I have been a Partner at Bolt Burdon since 2005 and head up the firm’s Company/Commercial team. I trained at a large City firm and then worked in their Corporate Department for 4 years, before moving to Bolt Burdon at the start of 2004. Read More
T: 020 7288 4753
Timothy Lucas
I am an associate in our Company Commercial department, having joined Bolt Burdon in January 2015. Read More
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