IP Cases & Articles

Fee reductions for UK design applications and renewals

Changes to UK design application and renewal fees came into effect 01 October 2016. The new official fees represent a dramatic reduction in the cost of protecting designs in the UK, and will no doubt be hugely welcome to businesses. In particular, the much cheaper rates for multiple designs will ease the financial burden of protecting whole collections of designs and enable more parts and features of a design to be registered.

Financial benefits of the electronic design registration service

The UKIPO launched its online design application service in September 2015. The introduction of the electronic registration service has brought about cheaper and more efficient administration of registrations when compared with the (still operational) paper-based application process.

Financial savings have been passed on to users, with application fees via the online system set lower than the corresponding fees for paper applications, with particular benefit being offered for applications comprising multiple designs.

Online applications and improved arrangements for multiple design applications compare favourably with the application process for registered Community designs (RCDs) run by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO, formerly OHIM).

Registration fees from 01 October 2016

Single design application savings

Users of the electronic service now pay £50 instead of £60 for a single design. The fee for registering one design in paper format remains unchanged (£60).

Benefits of multiple design applications

Users of the online electronic application service can benefit from significant reductions in application fees. A fee of £70 for multiple applications of up to 10 designs has been introduced, with an additional fee of £20 for every additional 10 designs (eg, 11-20 designs, 21-30 designs).

The UKIPO gives the example of a registration of three or fourteen designs using the paper-based service compared with the online electronic service.

  • Paper-based service (3 designs) = £140
  • Online electronic service (3 designs) = £70 (£70 cost saving)
  • Online electronic service (14 designs) = £90 (£490 cost saving)

Multiple design registration via one application

In the UK, a multiple design application can contain totally unrelated designs. This is in contrast to the EU route using a multiple RCD application, where the EUIPO requires that all of the designs in the multiple application must be in the same class of the Locarno classification. Thus, the UK route is more "applicant friendly" as only one multiple design application will ever be needed irrespective of the number and nature of the designs that are to be protected. This is however subject to a practical, technical restriction as to how many designs can be contained in a multiple UK application at the present time, and the UKIPO advises applicants to refer to the start page of the application for current limits.

In addition, as reported in our July newsletter, a decrease in design renewal fees has been implemented, with the total cost of maintaining a design for the maximum term of 25 years being significantly reduced.

Renewal fees from 01 October 2016

Design searching and invalidity savings

In addition to savings outlined above for renewals, applicants will also welcome a reduced fee of £24 (from £25) for a request for a search of the UK designs register. The fee for applications for a declaration of invalidity has also been reduced from £50 to £48.

Useful link

The UKIPO has issued guidance for businesses on changes to its design fees: http://dycip.com/ukipodesignfeeguide