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Proposal for changes in registered design fees

Proposal for changes in registered design fees

The UK Government has launched a consultation on a proposal to reduce the official fees for UK Registered Designs.

If you are thinking about registering your design you might be interested to know that the UK Government has just opened a consultation on a proposal to significantly reduce the fees for registered design filings. If adopted, the changes will be hugely beneficial to designers wishing to protect their designs in the UK.     

Why register your design?

The purpose of protecting your design is to stop others from copying it or encroaching too closely with their own designs. The protection of your design will be based on its aesthetic features including:

  • The appearance
  • The physical shape
  • The configuration
  • The decoration

To be registrable, your design must be:

  • New (not the same as any design which has already been made available to the public)
  • Have 'individual character' (a subjective test meaning that the design must produce a different overall impression on the 'informed user' compared with existing designs).

The current fees for registering designs were last amended in 2006 and are based on the use of the IPO’s outmoded paper-based processing system. In the past designers have stated that they are ‘prohibitively expensive’. Following these consultations with designers, the UK Government has recently implemented a new online registration service for designs and the reduction in cost from a paper-based system to a digital-based system can be passed on to businesses.

The IPO proposes to allow applicants to include up to 10 designs for a single application fee of £70. (Applying for ten designs under the current system costs £420.) It also suggests reducing renewal fees; for example, the renewal fee for the first extension of protection (which is currently £130) would be reduced to £70.

The major reductions in the filing fees for multiple-part applications filed via the online system will mean that designers can file applications covering numerous different aspects (or parts) of their designs at a fraction of the current costs. This will be particularly beneficial for businesses that wish to protect UX and GUI designs for Apps and other electronic devices, as multiple-part applications are usually needed to show the various transitions between different screens in a user interface, and the various constituent parts of a user interface.      

Renewal fees will also be significantly reduced, with the first renewal starting at £70 for renewing a design after its initial 5 year term for another 5 year term.

The proposed costs changes are summarised below:

In 2011, Professor Hargreaves highlighted the need to focus on designs in the UK. Intellectual property law needed to adapt to our changing world, particularly to reflect digital developments.

Design is a significant contributor to the UK economy – generating, according to recent figures from the Design Council, £71.7bn in gross value added (7.2% of total UK GVA). The UK is home to some of the world’s best designers and design-led businesses. The intellectual property system needs to help existing and new designers and businesses flourish

If the proposals are implemented this would increase the attractiveness of UK Registered Designs relative to European Registered Designs. Currently, the additional cost of a European Design application (which covers all 28 EU member states) compared to a UK Registered Design application is so significant that applicants often choose European protection even if they are predominantly interested in the UK market.

Michael Downing, is a Patent Attorney at Downing IP and is delighted with the proposed changes.

“I think the changes to registered design fees is important; it will change the filing strategy we use for registered designs, allowing us to pick out interesting parts of the design and get specific protection for them. It really is going to let us get creative with client's applications and get very much better protection without breaking the bank.”

Have your say on the proposed changes!

The Government is interested to hear from designers and businesses, and the consultation is open until 29 January 2016. Submissions can be made via the Gov website.

For confidential, professional advice regarding Trademarks, Patents or Design Protection please contact us on 01494 422626 or email

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