News story

1 October 2014: Changes to design and patent law

Guidance on changes to design and patent law made by the Intellectual Property Act 2014, many of which will come into effect on 1 October 2014.

Intellectual Property Office Logo

The Intellectual Property Act 2014, which received Royal Assent on 14 May 2014, modernises intellectual property (IP) law to help UK businesses better protect their IP rights. The Act also implements reforms to the designs legislation which flow from the Hargreaves review of Intellectual Property and Growth in 2011.

Changes to design law

Design law is often considered messy, complex and confusing, and small businesses, who don’t have the time or resources to disentangle it, can lose out. The IP Act will introduce a number of new measures and make some changes to the law in order to make design law simpler, clearer and more robust.

Key changes will include:

  • a new criminal offence for the copying of registered designs
  • changes to design ownership in relation to commissioned designs
  • private use of unregistered designs
  • scope of an unregistered design right
  • introduction of a design opinions service
  • online access to documents relating to registered designs

Changes to patent law

The IP Act will introduce a number of changes to patent law, which simplify complex areas and make it cheaper and easier to use and defend patents. This will be beneficial for both patent holders and third parties.

Key changes include:

  • marking patented products with a web address
  • expansion of the patent opinions service
  • patents worksharing

Supporting information

To help you understand how you might be affected by these changes we have created a collection of guides.

Act and associated documents

The Act and associated documents are available on

Published 6 August 2014