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UK IPO Calls for Views: UK Designs

Following the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU), the UK is no longer subject to EU law. The UK, therefore, has the opportunity to implement changes to its domestic design regime and diverge from EU design law & practice. In advance of implementing any changes, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) has launched a public consultation on the current UK designs framework. The consultation seeks views and evidence on opportunities to improve the designs system in the UK, including the potential to improve its contribution to UK economic growth, and to inform decisions on legislative action. Further information on the UK IPO’s ‘call for views’ can be accessed here.

The principal areas in which views are being sought are as follows:

  • the possibility of undertaking substantive examination of design applications (including novelty (prior art) searching);
  • the complexity of the current system and the issues presented by overlapping rights;
  • whether the system is flexible enough to provide adequate protection for designs related to new technologies, such as digital content and designs created using artificial intelligence (AI);
  • areas of inconsistency between unregistered forms of design protection;
  • how well deferment of designs works in the UK and whether the maximum period should be reduced or increased from 12 months from filing; and
  • the issues and barriers designers face when enforcing their rights and how enforcement can be made easier or more cost effective.

Responses are invited from individual designers, small and large businesses, law firms and legal professionals, rights holders and all other interested parties. A response form can be completed and submitted online via the following link.

The consultation will close at 11.45 PM on 25 March 2022. Thereafter, all responses received will be assessed by the government and a summary will be published. The UK government hopes that these responses will help inform future policy and any changes to the UK designs framework.