Irish, United Kingdom and European Union Designs

Ireland and United Kingdom

To register a product design, or product feature design, in Ireland or the UK that design must be new, with individual character that can be clearly seen in the ordinary use of the product.

This can apply to an extremely wide range of products such as ornaments, clothes, furnishings, etc

Features that can contribute to whether a design is entitled to protection include lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or material of a product, including ornamentation.

But features which are purely functional do not qualify for design protection.

Registering a design grants you the exclusive rights to use it for a period of 25 years.

European Union

There are two main types of design protection in the EU:

  • For a registered European Union design

  • For an unregistered European Union design

For a design on all or part of a product to secure protection it must meet the criteria of having new and original character. Factors that contribute to whether a design is eligible for protection can include the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of a product and/or its ornamentation.

Where there is a complex product with many components, visible components of the product can also qualify for protection. Both 2D representations and 3D shapes can qualify for protection.

Any qualifying design is entitled to protection as an unregistered community design, which lasts for three years from when it was first published in the EU.

A registered European Union design can secure protection for up to 25 years. This protection must be renewed every five years from when it is first granted.

A European Union design is protected in all EU member states.

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