In the recent past the law relating to registered designs has undergone massive change making it more relevant to the end user. The changes have been brought about by two legal measures; the first is a European Directive (98/71/EC) and the second is Council Regulation (EC) no 6/2002 .

The Directive radically amended the Registered Design Act 1949 and the Council Regulation introduced the availability of a Community wide registered design.

The advantage of registration is that it gives the owner a monopoly similar to the rights enjoyed by a proprietor of a patent.

The proprietor of a registered design can bring proceedings for infringement against any third party who applies the design, or one substantially similar to it, to products and against anyone who trades in articles bearing that design. In deciding whether or not a third party’s design is sufficiently similar

to the proprietor’s the documents deposited with the relevant registry are important. A vital distinction between copyright and registered design is that the latter can be enforced against a third party, such as a retailer, who has not themselves copied the proprietor’s design.

In relation to infringement, the effect of registration is that the proprietor can curtail the use of the design on all types of products.

The remedies available to the proprietor of a registered design include court orders (injunctions) an order for delivery up, damages and costs.

Registration also allows the proprietor to deal with the design as an item of property. It can mortgage, sell and licence the right to use the registered design.

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