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Introduction to Registered and Unregistered Designs

Registered Designs and Unregistered Designs

Whilst the function, operation, manufacture or construction of a product may be protected by a patent, its outward appearance may be protectable by design protection. This protection may be in two forms:

1. A registered design, requiring an application to the Patent Office;

2. An unregistered design right which arises automatically without registration but gives a weaker protection.

Other protection is available to artistic works (through copyright ) and semi-conductor chip topography.

A potential registered design must be original and hence details of the design should be kept confidential prior to application for registration.

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