Designs

Design attorneys supporting clients with all aspects of design protection

Whether it’s the protection of the shape, colour or material of a product, our team will work to protect your designs and to ensure that they are registered effectively. We have a large and well-established designs practice which has helped numerous household names secure strategic protection for their designs internationally.

Our design expertise

We have experience guiding our clients through the complexities of dealing with contractual issues surrounding multiple party rights for a design. We work closely with our clients to cover key design aspects of new products and product lines, covering (where appropriate) overall shape, texture, and/or surface finish of products.

We have particular expertise in obtaining broad design protection for features that pervade product lines. We also have significant experience in obtaining design protection for user interfaces.

Our design services

‘Multi-part’ registered design applications

Under both the UK and Community (European) registered design systems, it is possible to simultaneously file several designs within a ‘multi-part’ application. In Europe and the UK, the cost per design within the ‘multi-part’ application reduces with the number of designs.

Representations

The representation of a design has great importance within a registered design, since it is often the representations that determine the scope of protection. As a result, it is crucial to get the representation right so as to ensure effective protection – broad enough to cover the design for which protection is sought, but not too broad so as to invalidate the registration.

Graphical user interface designs

Many may not be aware that registered designs can be used easily and cheaply to protect aesthetic features of digital products, such as icons and aspects of graphical user interfaces (GUIs), and not just the external physical appearance of a product. 

Registered and unregistered designs

As the name suggests, registered designs must be centrally registered at an intellectual property office in order to have effect, whereas unregistered designs come into effect automatically. The scope of protection and the criteria for infringement vary greatly between registered and unregistered design rights.

Registered design processes

Relative to other IP rights, registered designs are inexpensive, and the registration process is generally simple and relatively quick, making them well suited for the fast-paced product life cycles. Furthermore, they may offer a valuable level of protection that may be difficult to protect using other means, such as patents.

Hague Agreement for industrial designs

Designers have a number of filing routes for seeking registered design protection. One such route that is growing in popularity is the Hague Agreement, which is designed to allow applicants to achieve international protection for their designs with less expense and formal requirements when compared to the route of individually filing design applications in each and every territory of interest.

Design FAQs

Getting started with a design application can be overwhelming. Find out the basics, how designs work and how they can help you in our FAQs.

A full understanding of design law

At Mathys & Squire, we take away the stress of how to protect your design with our expertise in UK, EU and international design law. We will work with you to advise on all aspects of design law and design rights. This means that we help to protect you from outside infringements, and from infringing an existing design.

How the Community (European) Registered Design process works

Registering a design is the best way to protect your IP and to prevent others from copying it, but getting started with the application can be overwhelming at first. The process starts with preparing representations, filing an application, its examination and publication, and ends with an official certificate being issued. See the full process below:

Trunki decision 

The high profile ‘Trunki’ Registered Design dispute came to an end as the UK Supreme Court upheld the UK Court of Appeal’s judgment that PMS International’s ‘Kiddee Case’ product did not infringe Magmatic’s European Community Registered Design for the Trunki.

The dispute and its outcome have enabled us to provide practical guidance for designers and businesses wishing to protect their designs in light of this decision.

Reinhold Cohn & Partners

“The entire team at Mathys & Squire is very professional, welcoming and very patient. We pose some difficult issues sometimes and we always get a prompt, detailed response which enables us to take a final decision with the client. We are very pleased both professionally and administratively.”

Ehrlich & Fenster

“We are very impressed with all the people we work with at Mathys & Squire. The quality and focus of their work is high. They have met all our deadlines and are very responsive. They always have a quick answer to any questions we have.”

Kenwood

“Mathys & Squire are innovative about what they do. They are not just ticking boxes; they are always trying to come up with better ways of doing things, and are always open to suggestions from our side.”