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h u t c h i n s o n  i p UK & EUROPEAN PATENT & DESIGN ATTORNEYS
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Hutchinson IP is a UK-based firm of patent and design attorneys.  We are qualified, fully registered and insured to help you obtain protection for your designs throughout Europe and in the UK.

WHAT IS A REGISTERED DESIGN?

In terms of what it does, a “registered design” is approximately the same thing as a US “design patent” - it is a legally enforceable Intellectual Property (IP) right that can be used to stop others from making, selling, offering for sale, etc. designs that do not create on the informed user a different overall impression.  For more information on the different types of UK and European Union (EU) design protection, please click here.

WHAT SORTS OF DESIGNS CAN BE PROTECTED?

The Designs Directive places no restrictions, per se, on the types of designs that can be protected. Designs are protected in an abstract sense, and so they are not restricted to particular products.  As such, the design of a toy automobile, for example, also (potentially) covers the design of full-sized automobiles, novelty computer mice, pepper pots, etc. all having the same appearance. You can use Registered Designs to protect the appearance of packaging, graphics, web site layouts or anything else for that matter in which visual appearance is an important factor.

That said, the design must be new and create a different overall impression.  It must not be dictated solely by its technical function, nor must the design be dictated by the shape of something else (the so-called “must fit” or “must match” exceptions.  We can advise on a case-by-case basis, so please contact us if you need more help.

 WHAT DOES IT COST?

Our fee for registering a single design throughout the entire European Union (EU) is just GB£900, plus VAT at 20%, if you’re subject to UK VAT. You can go to xe.com to see what it costs in your local currency.

The European Designs Directive allows “multiple” applications to be made, provided the designs in question fall into the same Eurolocarno class.  It is therefore possible to apply to register several designs at once, using a single application process.  Each additional design included in a “multiple” application costs £450 (+VAT, if applicable), i.e. £900 + VAT for 1 design, £1,350 + VAT for 2 designs, £1,800 + VAT for 3 designs, and so on.

Because applications can be processed electronically, we can offer a 100% fixed-fee service.

WHAT DOES THE PRICE INCLUDE?

The fees above include our professional service charges for providing pre-filing advice, selecting the appropriate Eurolocarno class(es), filing the application online, attending to payment of the official fees, the official filing and publication fees (which includes the first 5 years’ renewal fee), reporting filing and providing the application number, receiving and forwarding the filing receipt and the registration certificate, and entering the case in our renewal reminder system.

HOW LONG DOES THE PROCESS TAKE?

Provided you send us up to 7 good quality representations of each design to be protected, we can usually file the application within 48 hours of receipt.  Registration (grant) usually takes somewhere between 2 to 10 days to complete.

WHY IS IT SO QUICK?

Because we use OHIM’s online filing portal, we effectively enter the filing data directly into the registration system.  Almost all that OHIM does, therefore, is to check the application for errors and approve registration.  Occasionally, there are glitches, but we include dealing with these in our fixed fee procedure.  Unlike in the US, OHIM (the EU designs registry) does not formally examine applications.  The reason for this is that because so few registered designs are ever actually litigated (compared to the number filed), it was deemed to be disproportionate to expect every applicant to pay for an expensive examination procedure when, in reality, the IP right would be unlikely to ever be enforced.  Crucially, because there is no presumption of validity, the mere fact of registration does not give rise to any positive right to use the design.

HOW LONG DOES A REGISTERED COMMUNITY DESIGN LAST?

The RCD can remain in force for up to 25 years from its filing date, subject to renewal payments every 5 years.

CAN I CLAIM PRIORITY?

Yes.  If you have filed a registered design application in another Paris Convention country less than 6 months prior to the RCD’s filing date, you can claim priority and effectively backdate the RCD to the earlier application’s filing date.

WHAT IF MY DESIGN IS ALREADY IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN?

Provided the design has not been in the public domain for more than 1 year, it is usually possible to validly file a Registered Community Design application by relying on the “grace period”.  There is one crucial proviso, however - the first public disclosure of the design must have made the design in question known to entities operating in the EU, otherwise, the design may lack novelty.  We can advise on this on a case-by-case basis.

REGISTERED DESIGNS PROVIDE PROTECTION FOR THE OUTWARD APPEARANCE OF DESIGNS

Registered design protection

Related information:

Registered Designs