Design right automatically protects your design for 10 years after the design was first sold or 15 years after it was created - whichever is earliest.

You can use it to stop someone copying your design.

Design right only applies to the shape and configuration (how different parts of a design are arranged together) of objects.

You can also register your design for better protection provided it meets the eligibility criteria.

You must register a design to protect 2-dimensional designs such as graphics, textiles and wallpaper.

Prove your design right

You’ll need proof of when you created a design if you want to claim design right.

This could be copies of your design drawings or photos:

  • kept with a bank or solicitor
  • that you’ve sent to yourself by registered, dated post and kept unopened

Design right disputes

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) can help with some design right disputes.

You’ll usually need professional advice to take legal action using design right.

Licence of right

You can agree for someone else to use your design by selling or giving them ‘licence of right’.

In the final 5 years you must give a licence of right to anybody who asks.

You can ask IPO to help if you can’t reach an agreement on the terms of the licence.

Design rights in the EU

Designs, including patterns, may be automatically protected in the EU as ‘unregistered community designs’. This gives your design 3 years protection from copying.

Read guidance on other ways to protect your intellectual property overseas.