How the Intellectual Property Act 2014 will change British Unregistered Design Right Law

by Jane Lambert
Contact

On 14 May 2014 the Intellectual Property Bill 2014 finally received royal assent and became law. The statute makes changes to British patent, registered design and unregistered design right law. This article discusses the changes that have been made to the the last of those topics.

Unregistered design right (generally known as "design right") is a peculiarly British intellectual property right. The intellectual asset that it is used to protect are functional designs, that is to say the design of machinery, electrical circuitry and components. No other country has adopted that legal mechanism though Hong Kong and New Zealand protect such designs by copyright. Most other countries rely on utility models or a law of unfair competition for that purpose.

Essentially, design right protects aspects of shape or configuration of articles for parts of articles so long as they are recorded in a design document or am article is made to the design. The design term is quite short: 10 years if products are made to the design in the first 5 years after the design's creation or 15 years if they were not and in the last 5 years of the term anyone in the world including an infringer can undertake to take a licence to do what might otherwise be an infringement as of right.

Over the years a number of uncertainties and anomalies have arisen. The definition of "design" is so loose that microscopic changes in dimension can give rise to separate rights. Those who commission designs rather than the creators are the first owners of design right. Though the right is unregistered various issues relating to design right are referred to the Comptroller-General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (or in practice hearing officers appointed by the Comptroller from whom there are two separate routes of appeal.

The Intellectual Property Act 2014 addresses those anomalies. It tightens up the definition of "design" and originality. It abolishes the automatic right of a commissioner of a design to be the first owner of the design right in the design. It relaxes the qualification requirements so that major businesses from outside the UK can claim that right. It introduces a number of exceptions to design right and simplifies the appeal structure,

This is the only area of design law that Parliament can change since Community designs are granted under an EU regulation and nation states have to harmonize their national design registration law with an EU directive. The changes are quite modest and are unlikely to have any great effect on growth and innovation. They are not what the design lobby wanted. Nevertheless they are quite worthy and are thus worth enacting,

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Jane Lambert, NIPC | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Jane Lambert
Contact
more
less

NIPC on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.