06 September 2017

The IPO Releases Surprising Figures for UK Registered Design Applications

The UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) recently published its latest annual facts and figures on UK Registered Designs.

Notably, the figures show that the UK-IPO received around 55% more UK Registered Design applications in 2016 (totalling over 10,000 applications) than in the preceding year.

The significant increase in filings may be attributed in part to the substantial reduction to official fees for UK Registered Designs that were adopted in 2016 (as outlined here), which has helped make the UK Registered Design system an effective alternative to the European Union (EU) Registered Design system.

Another possible explanation for the increase in filings may be the UK’s vote to leave the EU.

At present, although separate systems, both UK and EU Registered Design applications have effect in the UK.  Although the UK’s exit from the EU will have an impact on EU Registered Designs, the ramifications are not immediately clear.  As a result, some applicants have – out of caution – dually filed both UK and EU Registered Design applications in view of the uncertainty as to how, when and if at all existing EU Registered Designs will continue to have effect in the UK after it leaves the EU. For more details see our article on the IP implications of the UK’s move to leave the EU, here.

Encouragingly, the latest figures from the UK-IPO therefore show renewed interest in the historically-neglected UK Registered Design system.