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Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

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Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, Cross Heading: Registrable designs and proceedings for registration is up to date with all changes known to be in force on or before 23 July 2017. There are changes that may be brought into force at a future date. Changes that have been made appear in the content and are referenced with annotations. Help about Changes to Legislation

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Registrable designs and proceedings for registrationE+W+S+N.I.

Designs registrable under Act.E+W+S+N.I.

1(1)In this Act “design” means features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornament applied to an article by any industrial process, being features which in the finished article appeal to and are judged by the eye, but does not include—

(a)a method or principle of construction, or

(b)features of shape or configuration of an article which—

(i)are dictated solely by the function which the article has to perform, or

(ii)are dependent upon the appearance of another article of which the article is intended by the author of the design to form an integral part.

(2)A design which is new may, upon application by the person claiming to be the proprietor, be registered under this Act in respect of any article, or set of articles, specified in the application.

(3)A design shall not be registered in respect of an article if the appearance of the article is not material, that is, if aesthetic considerations are not normally taken into account to a material extent by persons acquiring or using articles of that description, and would not be so taken into account if the design were to be applied to the article.

(4)A design shall not be regarded as new for the purposes of this Act if it is the same as a design—

(a)registered in respect of the same or any other article in pursuance of a prior application, or

(b)published in the United Kingdom in respect of the same or any other article before the date of the application,

or if it differs from such a design only in immaterial details or in features which are variants commonly used in the trade.

This subsection has effect subject to the provisions of sections 4, 6 and 16 of this Act.

(5)The Secretary of State may by rules provide for excluding from registration under this Act designs for such articles of a primarily literary or artistic character as the Secretary of State thinks fit.

Proprietorship of designs.E+W+S+N.I.

2(1)The author of a design shall be treated for the purposes of this Act as the original proprietor of the design, subject to the following provisions.

(1A)Where a design is created in pursuance of a commission for money or money’s worth, the person commissioning the design shall be treated as the original proprietor of the design.

(1B)Where, in a case not falling within subsection (1A), a design is created by an employee in the course of his employment, his employer shall be treated as the original proprietor of the design.

(2)Where a design, or the right to apply a design to any article, becomes vested, whether by assignment, transmission or operation of law, in any person other than the original proprietor, either alone or jointly with the original proprietor, that other person, or as the case may be the original proprietor and that other person, shall be treated for the purposes of this Act as the proprietor of the design or as the proprietor of the design in relation to that article.

(3)In this Act the “author” of a design means the person who creates it.

(4)In the case of a design generated by computer in circumstances such that there is no human author, the person by whom the arrangements necessary for the creation of the design are made shall be taken to be the author.

Proceedings for registration.E+W+S+N.I.

3(1)An application for the registration of a design shall be made in the prescribed form and shall be filed at the Patent Office in the prescribed manner.

(2)An application for the registration of a design in which design right subsists shall not be entertained unless made by the person claiming to be the design right owner.

(3)For the purpose of deciding whether a design is new, the registrar may make such searches, if any, as he thinks fit.

(4)The registrar may, in such cases as may be prescribed, direct that for the purpose of deciding whether a design is new an application shall be treated as made on a date earlier or later than that on which it was in fact made.

(5)The registrar may refuse an application for the registration of a design or may register the design in pursuance of the application subject to such modifications, if any, as he thinks fit; and a design when registered shall be registered as of the date on which the application was made or is treated as having been made.

(6)An application which, owing to any default or neglect on the part of the applicant, has not been completed so as to enable registration to be effected within such time as may be prescribed shall be deemed to be abandoned.

(7)An appeal lies from any decision of the registrar under this section.

Registration of same design in respect of other articles, etc.E+W+S+N.I.

4(1)Where the registered proprietor of a design registered in respect of any article makes an application—

(a)for registration in respect of one or more other articles, of the registered design, or

(b)for registration in respect of the same or one or more other articles, of a design consisting of the registered design with modifications or variations not sufficient to alter the character or substantially to affect the identity thereof,

the application shall not be refused and the registration made on that application shall not be invalidated by reason only of the previous registration or publication of the registered design:

Provided that the right in a design registered by virtue of this section shall not extend beyond the end of the period, and any extended period, for which the right subsists in the original registered design.

(2)Where any person makes an application for the registration of a design in respect of any article and either—

(a)that design has been previously registered by another person in respect of some other article; or

(b)the design to which the application relates consists of a design previously registered by another person in respect of the same or some other article with modifications or variations not sufficient to alter the character or substantially to affect the identity thereof,

then, if at any time while the application is pending the applicant becomes the registered proprietor of the design previously registered, the foregoing provisions of this section shall apply as if at the time of making the application the applicant had been the registered proprietor of that design.

Provisions for secrecy of certain designs.E+W+S+N.I.

5(1)Where, either before or after the commencement of this Act, an application for the registration of a design has been made, and it appears to the registrar that the design is one of a class notified to him by the Secretary of State as relevant for defence purposes, he may give directions for prohibiting or restricting the publication of information with respect to the design, or the communication of such information to any person or class of persons specified in the directions.

(2)The Secretary of State shall by rules make provision for securing that where such directions are given—

(a)the representation or specimen of the design, and

(b)any evidence filed in support of the applicant’s contention that the appearance of an article is material (for the purposes of section 1(3) of this Act),

shall not be open to public inspection at the Patent Office during the continuance in force of the directions.

(3)Where the registrar gives any such directions as aforesaid, he shall give notice of the application and of the directions to the Secretary of State, and thereupon the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say:—

(a)the Secretary of State shall, upon receipt of such notice, consider whether the publication of the design would be prejudicial to the defence of the realm and unless a notice under paragraph (c) of this subsection has previously been given by that authority to the registrar, shall reconsider that question before the expiration of nine months from the date of filing of the application for registration of the design and at least once in every subsequent year;

(b)for the purpose aforesaid, the Secretary of State may, at any time after the design has been registered or, with the consent of the applicant, at any time before the design has been registered, inspect the representation or specimen of the design, or any such evidence as is mentioned in subsection (2)(b) above, filed in pursuance of the application;

(c)if upon consideration of the design at any time it appears to the Secretary of State that the publication of the design would not, or would no longer, be prejudicial to the defence of the realm, he shall give notice to the registrar to that effect;

(d)on the receipt of any such notice the registrar shall revoke the directions and may, subject to such conditions, if any, as he thinks fit, extend the time for doing anything required or authorised to be done by or under this Act in connection with the application or registration, whether or not that time has previously expired.

(4)No person resident in the United Kingdom shall, except under the authority of a written permit granted by or on behalf of the registrar, make or cause to be made any application outside the United Kingdom for the registration of a design of any class prescribed for the purposes of this subsection unless—

(a)an application for registration of the same design has been made in the United Kingdom not less than six weeks before the application outside the United Kingdom; and

(b)either no directions have been given under subsection (1) of this section in relation to the application in the United Kingdom or all such directions have been revoked:

Provided that this subsection shall not apply in relation to a design for which an application for protection has first been filed in a country outside the United Kingdom by a person resident outside the United Kingdom.

... ... ... ...

Provisions as to confidential disclosure, etc.E+W+S+N.I.

6(1)An application for the registration of a design shall not be refused, and the registration of a design shall not be invalidated, by reason only of—

(a)the disclosure of the design by the proprietor to any other person in such circumstances as would make it contrary to good faith for that other person to use or publish the design;

(b)the disclosure of the design in breach of good faith by any person other than the proprietor of the design; or

(c)in the case of a new or original textile design intended for registration, the acceptance of a first and confidential order for goods bearing the design.

(2)An application for the registration of a design shall not be refused and the registration of a design shall not be invalidated by reason only—

(a)that a representation of the design, or any article to which the design has been applied, has been displayed, with the consent of the proprietor of the design, at an exhibition certified by the Secretary of State for the purposes of this subsection;

(b)that after any such display as aforesaid, and during the period of the exhibition, a representation of the design or any such article as aforesaid has been displayed by any person without the consent of the proprietor; or

(c)that a representation of the design has been published in consequence of any such display as is mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection,

if the application for registration of the design is made not later than six months after the opening of the exhibition.

(3)An application for the registration of a design shall not be refused, and the registration of a design shall not be invalidated, by reason only of the communication of the design by the proprietor thereof to a government department or to any person authorised by a government department to consider the merits of the design, or of anything done in consequence of such a communication.

(4)Where an application is made by or with the consent of the owner of copyright in an artistic work for the registration of a corresponding design, the design shall not be treated for the purposes of this Act as being other than new by reason only of any use previously made of the artistic work, subject to subsection (5).

(5)Subsection (4) does not apply if the previous use consisted of or included the sale, letting for hire or offer or exposure for sale or hire of articles to which had been applied industrially—

(a)the design in question, or

(b)a design differing from it only in immaterial details or in features which are variants commonly used in the trade,

and that previous use was made by or with the consent of the copyright owner.

(6)The Secretary of State may make provision by rules as to the circumstances in which a design is to be regarded for the purposes of this section as “applied industrially” to articles, or any description of articles.

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