Protecting your designs

For businesses that design and manufacture products either for themselves or others, they should seriously consider obtaining registered design protection for their products.

Designs can be unregistered (where they arise automatically and have a much narrower scope of protection) or registered (where protection offers a much wider monopoly right).

Our services

Our specialists can provide you with strategic assistance in every stage of a design right's lifecycle.

How we can help: 

  • Design right audit to ensure that you have the right protection in place
  • Reviewing processes and advising on how best to capture new designs
  • Undertaking clearance work to ensure that you are free to use your design
  • Advising on what aspects of designs should be protected
  • Filing designs and renewing designs
  • Enforcing design rights
  • Licensing design rights
  • Drafting manufacturing contracts to ensure the right level of protection

Why choose Foot Anstey?

Our team operates across the UK from our offices in Bristol, Exeter, London, Plymouth, Southampton and Manchester. We can advise you not just on securing these rights in the UK and EU but all around the world, either through the international design system or as individual designs filed in national countries.

Given our significant experience in enforcing rights, we are uniquely placed to advise you on what protection to put in place to ensure that any disputes can be resolved quickly with strong rights.  Also, should your design be copied by a third party or a third party is claiming that you are infringing its design, we have significant experience in bringing and defending design right infringement cases and resolving such claims without going to trial.

At Foot Anstey, we work with you to consider your present and future commercial goals and ensure that your design right strategy is bespoke and suitable for you in the short and long term.  Our expert design lawyers and attorneys will take time to get to know you and your objectives and then cut through the legal jargon in order to provide clear advice on how best to achieve your goals.  Our clients range from entrepreneurs to start-ups and some of the world’s leading companies in a range of sectors.  The team works regularly with reputable partner law and attorney firms around the world, meaning our advice is specifically tailored to your target market.  Through our network, we can reach out quickly to register a design right and secure expert advice.

Our people

Our team, led by renowned IP specialist Paul Cox, will understand what you are trying to achieve and then will advise on the best and most cost effective solutions to enable you to maximize the value and achieve your commercial objectives. Paul has also been admitted into the Legal 500 Hall of Fame for Intellectual Property (South East).

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There are many benefits of registered protection, including:

  • Giving right holders the ability to prevent others from using the same design or a design with a similar overall impression.
  • Protecting the investment made in designing the products and make it far harder for third party competitors to produce similar products which will erode the uniqueness of the products.
  • For those businesses designing products for others, owning such rights will link the customer to you as they will not be able to go to other suppliers for the same product.
  • Enabling businesses to licence their rights to other businesses which may be better placed to utilise those rights either in the UK or overseas.  Further, infringers can often be converted into licensees which will generate an income stream for right holders.
  • Registered UK and EU design protection is relatively quick and inexpensive.

Relying on the unregistered design right which arises in the UK and EU makes enforcing your rights to prevent others from using your design much harder and more expensive. Whilst an unregistered design right arises automatically, as its scope and duration is far more limited than a registered design, we encourage businesses to file for registered designs.

A design registration protects the appearance of a whole or part of a product, including 2D images and 3D objects. It is often advisable to register parts of a product as well as the whole as a third party is more likely to copy only a product’s part rather than the whole.

Design registrations can include graphic symbols (such as a logo), typography, physical shapes, configurations, decorations, colour, patterns, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation. Using a quirky-looking chair as an example – a design registration can include anything from its unique shape, its colours and pattern, its packaging, get up and logo emblazoned on the chair and even the chair leg! A guide to the most common asked questions on registered designs can be found here.

If you are a business creating any product designs, do get in touch with our specialised design lawyers and attorneys to understand how design protection can protect your business and the process and cost involved.


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