Public consultation on UK designs framework

The UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) has launched a public consultation on the UK designs framework. In particular, it seeks to gather views and evidence from businesses, consumers and professionals on three main areas - new opportunities, future frameworks and better regulation, including:

  • the complexity of the current system, and whether it should be simplified
  • the possibility of substantive examination of design applications
  • how the post-EU exit changes to disclosure requirements for unregistered designs have impacted businesses, and views on ways to improve the situation
  • whether the system is flexible enough to protect designs based on new technologies, such as digital designs and designs created using artificial intelligence
  • the introduction of a deferment provision in UK law and what that should look like
  • designers’ experience of enforcing their rights and changes they would like to see to make enforcement more palatable

The UK IPO’s Chief Executive Tim Moss said:

An effective IP system is at the core of the government’s ambition for the UK to be the most innovative and creative country in the world. The designs framework is a crucial element, and we want to ensure it remains a powerful enabler in an increasingly digital environment.

"To help ensure the designs system remains fit for the future, we are eager to hear a broad range of views to help us understand how it can best meet the needs of those using it, and help unleash innovation’s potential."

The Design Council’s Chief Design Officer, Cat Drew, said:

Intellectual Property rights are fundamental to the business of design. We want a design IP system that keeps pace with and reflects new technologies and global markets. It’s really important that people from across the design industry give their views on the current IP framework and how it can be improved for designers. As part of our Design Economy work, we are looking at ways to enable designers to provide more value for people and planet, and we will be looking carefully at the suggestions emerging within this important review by the IPO."

The call for views will close on 25 March 2022. Thereafter, the government will assess the responses it receives and publish a summary of responses. These responses will help inform future policy and any changes to the UK designs framework.

Potter Clarkson will be submitting a response to the consultation to ensure that our views are heard on how the UK designs framework can continue to provide a useful and effective platform for our clients to protect their designs and enforce their rights.