What is a Registered Design?
The “design” – that is in this context the external appearance only – in contrast to design right, “design” which includes internal functional detail of a product can be registered provided that the features of the product are not dictated solely by the function of the product and are, at least in part, aesthetic.
The advantage of registration is that it provides a monopoly right; that is to say that an infringer would infringe by producing the same product (or one which is not substantially different) regardless of whether or not they actually copy the product.
Proof of actual copying is essential in a copyright or a design right action, but not for a registered design action.
However, much like the requirements of a patent, in order for a design to qualify for registration, it must be new and of individual character. As such, one of the first steps in the design registration process would be to carry out a comprehensive search in order to ascertain whether there are designs that have been made available to the public or that have previously been published.
The lifetime of a granted registered design right is 25 years from the first date the design was made available to the public, with a renewal required every 5 years.