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.