A brief comparison between UK and EU registered design regimes
The UK officially left the European Union at 23.00 GMT Friday 31 January 2020. A transition period, during which the UK will abide by EU legislation, has begun and is likely to end on 31 December 2020. There is an option to extend the transition period for a further two years but the UK Government has already indicated that it has no desire to do so; indeed, it has legislated for a commitment not to agree to any extension. During the transition period there are no changes regarding the filing, scope and protection of EU design rights.
Mindful that the UK may ultimately be in a position outside the EU after the transition period, it seems prudent to give consideration as to how the UK registered design regime differs from the EU registered design regime, noting there are some discrepancies in terms of what the two regimes allow for.
At a glance therefore, the following table provides outline information on the material similarities and differences between the UK and EU registered design regimes:
|UK registered designs||Feature||EU registered designs|
|25 years from the filing date of the design registration.||Maximum term of protection.||25 years from the filing date of the design registration.|
|50.||Maximum number of designs permitted in a single application.||Unlimited.|
|Application containing: 1 design £50; 2-10 designs £70; 11-20 designs £90; 21-30 designs £110; 31-40 designs £130; and 41-50 designs £150.||Nominal official fees for the design application [see note 1, below].||First design €350; each of designs 2-10 €175; each of designs 11 onwards €80.|
|No. The designs in the application can relate to any combination of subject matter (the Locarno classification of each design is irrelevant).||Must multiple designs in a single application share similar subject matter?||Yes. All designs in the application must principally relate to similar subject matter, in so far as the designs can all be covered under the same main Locarno classification number (such main numbers ranging from 01-32) [see note 2, below].|
|12 views.||Maximum number of views allowed for each design?||7 protected views (which define the scope of the protection afforded to the design registration) and up to 3 unprotected/explanatory views.|
|Yes.||Is a written disclaimer allowed to restrict the scope of each design from the application?||No.|
|Yes. Covering any disclosure(s) made by the designer, their successor in title, or by a third person as a result of information provided or action taken by the designer or their successor in title, which occurs no earlier than 12 months before the priority date of the registered design application.||Is there a novelty grace period - if so, how long is it?||Yes. Covering any disclosure(s) made by the designer, their successor in title, or by a third person as a result of information provided or action taken by the designer or their successor in title, which occurs no earlier than 12 months before the priority date of the registered design application.|
|12 months from the filing date of the UK registered design application.||What is the maximum period in which publication of a design registration can be deferred?||30 months from the priority date of the EU registered design application.|
|Yes.||Is surface ornamentation protectable under the registered design regime?||Yes.|
|Yes.||Are logos protectable?||Yes.|
|Yes.||Are graphical user interfaces protectable?||Yes.|
|Yes.||Are typefaces protectable?||Yes.|
|2-4 weeks.||Typical time through to publication and registration of the application, from the date of initial application [see note 3, below].||1-3 weeks.|
- Assuming the design registration is not subject to any form of deferred publication.
- It is exceptionally allowed to pursue designs covered under the same main Locarno Classification number, alongside designs relating to ‘Ornamentation’ in Locarno Classification 32.00, in the same application.
- Assuming no objections are raised by the relevant design registry, concerning the content of the registered design application as applied for.
In all therefore, it can be seen that both the UK and EU design registries share a number of similarities, chief of those being their abilities to both provide swift registration at an affordable price. Furthermore, the capability to obtain design registrations before each design registry in respect of more unconventional subject matter, such as surface ornamentation, graphical user interfaces, and typefaces, further highlights the nominal strength and flexibility of the two registered design regimes.
If you are considering registered design protection in the UK or the EU, or would like some guidance on how such protection might be applicable to you, please do not hesitate to contact any of the members from our design team who would be pleased to advise. Equally, for ongoing updates on the effects of Brexit with respect to design protection in Europe, do consult our IP & Brexit guide.