This chapter discusses the law on designs. The underlying idea behind the law on designs is that it involves two distinct elements: an article or product and some added ingredient, a design feature, which enhances the appearance of the article. It is the design feature, the added matter, which receives legal protection, not the product itself. The chapter then deals with the five principal means available to protect the appearance of a product: UK registered design; UK unregistered design right; UK copyright; EU registered design; and EU unregistered design. Thus, a designer who wishes to acquire protection for the appearance of an article under UK and/or EU law has several options. To add to the complexity, various aspects of the design can be protected by registered designs, unregistered designs, and copyright. The outcome is that a designer could end up with several different layers of protection.
All books in this flagship series contain carefully selected substantial extracts from key cases, legislation, and academic debate, providing able students with a stand-alone resource. This chapter discusses design protection in the UK and EU and the impact of the UK’s departure from the EU on this protection. In particular, it traces the history of industrial design protection before turning to examine in detail the registered designs and unregistered design right systems. The chapter also analyses the relationship between copyright and industrial designs, the tensions that arise from this interrelationship, and how this interface will be regulated in future under UK law.