Many may not be aware that registered designs can be used easily and cheaply to protect aesthetic aspects of digital products, such as icons and aspects of graphical user interfaces (GUIs), and not just the external physical appearance of a product.
Notably, in many major jurisdictions, registered designs can be used to protect a GUI per se, without reference to the device on which the GUI is provided. This allows for a GUI to be protected no matter the device incorporating the GUI. In addition, dynamic or animated GUIs can also be protected via registered designs, which allows important user interactions to be protected.
Specific or generalised parts of a GUI can be covered by disclaiming those parts of the design for which protection is not desired.
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 associated with digital products. Furthermore, they may offer a valuable level of protection for digital products that may be difficult to protect using other means, such as patents.
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