By Design: Update on Registered Design Filing at the UK IPO

By Andrew Flaxman, Partner

Following a referendum in the UK in 2016, the UK’s official membership of the European Union ended in January 2020, triggering the start of an 11-month transition period which was relevant for various IP rights, including UK registered designs.

Prior to the UK’s departure from the EU, a Registered Community Design (RCD) (also known as an EU design) would cover the UK. To ensure that rights from existing RCDs continue to be protected in the UK, the UK Government agreed to create an equivalent “cloned” registered UK design for all existing RCDs.

Applicants with EU design applications that were pending on 1 January 2021 were able to file for an equivalent UK right and claim the earlier filing date, as long as the so-called “re-registration” was filed by 30 September 2021.

Throughout 2021, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) has been updating the UK design register with all the new cloned UK design registrations. However, some design owners had reported that their UK re-registered designs were not appearing on the UK design register. It is understood that the UK IPO have investigated the omissions and that the process of updating to include the remaining cloned designs is underway.

The changes to EU and UK design law since the UK left the EU have, perhaps unsurprisingly, had a large effect on the number of design applications filed in the UK, as many applicants now file concurrent EU and UK design applications to ensure thorough European protection for their designs. Design filing data from the UK IPO shows a large increase in filings of UK design applications from January 2021, with over twice the number of UK design applications filed in January 2021 compared to January 2020. Filing numbers peaked at over 9,500 as the re-registration deadline approached in September, and the monthly average for 2021 (excluding September’s peak) is around 5,700, compared to a monthly average in 2020 of around 2,600.

The Designs team at Haseltine Lake Kempner and our associated German entity, HL Kempner PartmbB, continue to act for clients before both the UK IPO and the EU Intellectual Property Office (EU IPO). If you have any questions about any aspect of design protection in the UK or Europe, please get in touch.

This is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Should you require advice on this or any other topic then please contact hlk@hlk-ip.com or your usual Haseltine Lake Kempner advisor.