registration of a design provides a monopoly right for the appearance
of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features
of, in particular, the: lines; contours; colours; shape; texture;
materials; of the product or its ornamentation. It protects the
shape of appearance of an object from unauthorised use or copying.
Protection under a design registration is concerned with what an
article looks like not how it functions. . For a valid registration
the design must be new and not similar to any existing design which
is already in the public domain.
Design right applies to original designs for the shape or configuration of products. Design right is not a monopoly right like a design registration but a right to prevent copying, and lasts until 10 years after first marketing products made to the design, subject to an overall limit of 15 years from creation of the design. The design must be the shape or configuration. Two-dimensional designs, such as textile or wallpaper designs, do not qualify, although they may qualify for copyright and possibly registered design protection. The design must not be commonplace, so well-known, ordinary, routine designs will not acquire design right. Design right is like copyright in that the protection arises automatically when the design is created. You do not have to apply to register design right. However it would be wise to keep evidence of when the design was first recorded in material form and when products made to the design were first made available for sale or hire. This information would be essential if someone challenges rights in the design or if someone is infringing a design right and court action is intended.