Design protection covers the appearance of something rather than the way it works.

The appearance of an article is often key to its commercial success, particularly as consumers purchase certain products based on aesthetic appeal as well as, or in preference to, factors such as cost.

There are two main forms of design protection, namely registered and unregistered design right.

A registered design provides a temporary monopoly against the unauthorized making, selling or importation of an article bearing the same or a similar design. The right may cover the shape of a product or a pattern or decoration applied to it. A valid design registration requires the design to be new and have individual character over designs already in the public domain.

Obtaining a registered design requires us to submit a formal application together with drawings of the design.

Unregistered Design Right (UDR) provides a more limited form of design protection subsists in certain qualifying designs from the time they are created. This is known as UDR or just ‘design right’. Although no registration is required, UDR is more limited in terms of what is protected, its duration is shorter and it is necessary to show copying in order to enforce the right.

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