A registered design protects the outward appearance of an article. It does not protect any underlying principle or idea. It may protect either the shape of the article or a pattern applied to the article, provided these features appeal to and are judged by the eye.
The registration of a design for gives you the sole right in the UK and the Isle of Man to make, sell, import for sale, hire or use in business such articles incorporating the Design (or a Design not substantially different). Consequently, you may take legal action against an infringer and claim damages.
A design registration does not protect features dictated solely by the function of the article. A design registration does not protect features which are dependant on the appearance of another article of which the proposed design forms an integral part. For the registration to be valid, the Design must be new and the article to which the design is applied must be of a type for which aesthetic considerations would normally influence a purchaser of the article.
In the UK and Europe, a design application can be made for a single design or any number of different designs so, if you are planning to launch a number of products on the market at about the same time, it is economical to include them all in a single design application.
We require a number of representations of the article to file an application; these may be photographs or drawings of different views of the article, sufficient to show all aspects of the Design. In the case of photographic representations, these should show the article photographed against a plain, contrasting background, omitting any confusing or extraneous details. In most cases "informal" representations or even a sample can be filed to secure a filing date, and we can have the necessary "formal" representations prepared later.
The application will hopefully be allowed, with any modifications considered necessary to comply with formal requirements. The design is then registered and a certificate of Registration is issued. The period for which a Registered Design is effective is initially five years, but this is extendable upon payment of renewal fees for four further periods of five years each, giving a total possible lifetime of twenty five years.